- either of two corresponding parallels of latitude on the terrestrial globe, one (tropic of Cancer) about 23½° N, and the other (tropic of Capricorn) about 23½° S of the equator, being the boundaries of the Torrid Zone.
- the tropics,the regions lying between and near these parallels of latitude; the Torrid Zone and neighboring regions.
- Astronomy. either of two circles on the celestial sphere, one lying in the same plane as the tropic of Cancer, the other in the same plane as the tropic of Capricorn.
- of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or occurring in the tropics; tropical: romance under the tropic skies of Old Mexico.
Origin of tropic
- a combining form with the meanings “turned toward, with an orientation toward” that specified by the initial element (geotropic), “having an affinity for, affecting” what is specified (lipotropic; neurotropic; psychotropic), “affecting the activity of, maintaining” a specified organ (gonadotropic).
Origin of -tropic
Related Words for tropicwild, equatorial, jungle, summer, stifling, thermal, burning, tropical, hot, humid, steamy, sticky, sultry, sweltering, torrid, warm
Examples from the Web for tropic
Contemporary Examples of tropic
In Tropic Thunder, he was a hopelessly deluded movie star in search of an Oscar.Ben Stiller's Daddy Issues
April 20, 2011
He did a comic turn in Tropic Thunder and a quirky commercial for Jimmy Kimmel that aired during the Oscars.The Resurrection of Tom Cruise
May 1, 2009
"Tropic Thunder" was a modest hit ($159 million), but it cost a fortune to make ($100 million).How Much Paramount Lost In Its Deal with Spielberg
October 15, 2008
Historical Examples of tropic
The fever was in his brain, the magic of the tropic moon was flooding his soul.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
There are islands, tropic islands, there, where it's always summer.
They watched the sun set in all its glory over the tropic sea.
In truth, he pined after the Capricorn—I don't mean only the tropic; I mean the ship too.Victory
The sun-sets on the English stage are as rapid as in any tropic region.Cruel Barbara Allen
David Christie Murray
- (sometimes capital) either of the parallel lines of latitude at about 23 1/2 °N (tropic of Cancer) and 23 1/2 °S (tropic of Capricorn) of the equator
- the tropics (often capital) that part of the earth's surface between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn; the Torrid Zone
- astronomy either of the two parallel circles on the celestial sphere having the same latitudes and names as the corresponding lines on the earth
- a less common word for tropical
Word Origin for tropic
- turning or developing in response to a certain stimulusheliotropic
Word Origin for -tropic
late 14c., "either of the two circles in the celestial sphere which describe the northernmost and southernmost points of the ecliptic," from Late Latin tropicus "of or pertaining to the solstice" (as a noun, "one of the tropics"), from Latin tropicus "pertaining to a turn," from Greek tropikos "of or pertaining to a turn or change, or to the solstice" (as a noun, "the solstice"), from trope "a turning" (see trope).
The notion is of the point at which the sun "turns back" after reaching its northernmost or southernmost point in the sky. Extended 1520s to the corresponding latitudes on the earth's surface (23 degrees 28 minutes north and south); meaning "region between these parallels" is from 1837. Tropical "hot and lush like the climate of the tropics" is first attested 1834.
- Affecting or attracted to something specified:gonadotropic.
- Either of the two parallels of latitude representing the points farthest north and south at which the Sun can shine directly overhead. The northern tropic is the Tropic of Cancer and the southern one is the Tropic of Capricorn.
- tropics. The region of the Earth lying between these latitudes. The tropics are generally the warmest and most humid region of the Earth. Also called Torrid Zone