Definition of altitude in English:


(also alt.)


  • 1The height of an object or point in relation to sea level or ground level.

    ‘flight data including airspeed and altitude’
    ‘flying at altitudes over 15,000 feet’
    • ‘We had our fighter planes at several altitudes but met no enemy aircraft.’
    • ‘Their goal is to fly to the highest altitudes that the sky and the human spirit can offer.’
    • ‘Eventually they reached for the skies and achieved dizzying altitudes.’
    • ‘From high altitudes they can locate missile sites and protect troops on the ground if called to do so.’
    • ‘The rest of the flight is done at altitudes that those missiles cannot reach.’
    • ‘There are plenty of beautiful mountains and stunning views to be found at much lower altitudes.’
    • ‘During the debrief, everyone claimed to have been at the prescribed altitudes and positions.’
    • ‘At high altitudes, the thin air makes it hard to breathe unless the cabin is pressurized.’
    • ‘I had been to the Himalayas before but I'd never experienced high altitudes.’
    • ‘The expedition in March will see the duo facing altitudes of up to 14,000 ft and temperatures as low as minus five.’
    • ‘The pilot said it was a rare day because the air was flowing in different directions between altitudes.’
    • ‘Flights will take off from the U.S. and will reach altitudes of more than 62 miles.’
    • ‘Apparently, the altimeters built into some Casio watches can be modified to detonate bombs at certain altitudes.’
    • ‘During the trek she will be walking at altitudes of up to 4, 000m and will spend two days acclimatising.’
    • ‘In its upper reaches, climbers are at heights equal to the cruising altitudes for passenger jets.’
    • ‘Air at very high altitude smells completely different to lower altitudes.’
    • ‘Therefore, the airplane may not be controllable at lower altitudes and airspeeds.’
    • ‘The famous seven hills of Rome were healthy because mosquitoes, the vectors of malaria, only fly at low altitudes.’
    • ‘There are also a large number of birds that are spotted at the higher altitudes so the climb is well worth the effort.’
    • ‘From my experience, this airspeed holds true in a wide range of temperatures and altitudes.’
    height, elevation, distance above the ground, distance above the sea
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Great height.
      ‘the mechanism can freeze at altitude’
      • ‘If cabin depressurization occurs at altitude and goes above this value, passengers in shirt sleeves will die shortly.’
      • ‘The Superfort, its mission apparently completed, descended from altitude and the pilot decided to do a bit of joy riding.’
      • ‘The material soaks up water that freezes at altitude and can cause delamination that may not be readily visible.’
      • ‘Kelly wants to develop the Astroliner, a winged rocket towed into the air by a 747 jet and released at altitude to soar on a suborbital trajectory under its own power.’
      • ‘Most people don’t sleep well at altitude.’
      • ‘This century's leap into aviation and space travel has brought with it a much deeper understanding of the human ability to function at altitude.’
      • ‘He spends long periods of time training at altitude in his home country.’
      • ‘Both nations have struggled in recent years while playing at altitude, where the thin air hands an advantage to those acclimatised to the conditions.’
    2. 1.2Astronomy The apparent height of a celestial object above the horizon, measured as an angle.
      • ‘Like other nautical instruments its primary function was to measure the altitude of the sun or a star above the horizon.’
      • ‘A scale along the staff showed the altitude, or angle above the horizon, of the body.’
      • ‘If the object is below the horizon then the altitude is negative.’
      • ‘Also, on any given day the Sun circles the sky at the same apparent altitude.’
      • ‘Spacecraft orbiting Earth can be found in several different types of orbits based on their altitude and orientation.’
    3. 1.3Geometry The length of the perpendicular line from a vertex to the opposite side of a figure.
      • ‘This is a good deal like having a theory that tells us that the area of a plane figure is one-half the base times the altitude, without telling us for what figures this holds.’
      • ‘Let y be the altitude of the triangular cross section of the wedge in Figure 6a cut by a plane at distance x from the base.’


Late Middle English: from Latin altitudo, from altus ‘high’.