1. Geography.
    1. the angular distance north or south from the equator of a point on the earth’s surface, measured on the meridian of the point.
    2. a place or region as marked by this distance.
  2. freedom from narrow restrictions; freedom of action, opinion, etc.: He allowed his children a fair amount of latitude.
  3. Astronomy.
    1. celestial latitude.
    2. galactic latitude.
  4. Photography. the ability of an emulsion to record the brightness values of a subject in their true proportion to one another, expressed as the ratio of the amount of brightness in the darkest possible value to the amount of brightness in the brightest: a latitude of 1 to 128.


    1. an angular distance in degrees north or south of the equator (latitude 0°), equal to the angle subtended at the centre of the globe by the meridian between the equator and the point in question
    2. (often plural)a region considered with regard to its distance from the equatorSee longitude (def. 1)
  1. scope for freedom of action, thought, etc; freedom from restrictionhis parents gave him a great deal of latitude
  2. photog the range of exposure over which a photographic emulsion gives an acceptable negative
  3. astronomy See celestial latitude

n.late 14c., “breadth,” from Old French latitude (13c.) and directly from Latin latitudo “breadth, width, extent, size,” from latus “wide,” from PIE root *stele- “to spread” (cf. Old Church Slavonic steljo “to spread out,” Armenian lain “broad”). Geographical sense also is from late 14c., literally “breadth” of a map of the known world. Figurative sense of “allowable degree of variation” is early 15c. Related: Latitudinal.

  1. A measure of relative position north or south on the Earth’s surface, measured in degrees from the equator, which has a latitude of 0°, with the poles having a latitude of 90° north and south. The distance of a degree of latitude is about 69 statute miles or 60 nautical miles (111 km). Latitude and longitude are the coordinates that together identify all positions on the Earth’s surface. Compare longitude.
  2. Celestial latitude.

The measurement, in degrees, of a place’s distance north or south of the equator. (Compare longitude.)

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