# Am I the only who thinks "longitud" is a weird word for "length"?

``````Si todo va bien, el array debe estar vacío y su longitud debe ser 0.
``````

...which is translated as this:

``````If all goes well, the array must be empty and its length must be 0.
``````

Since parallels of latitude are horizontal, and meridians of longitude are vertical, it seems to that "length" corresponds more to latitude than longitude, at least in this sense. e.g., the string (group of characters) "platypus" has a length of eight, and stretches horizontally, from "p" to "s".

Is there some historical or etymological reason why a vertical dimension (longitude) is a word for something which seems logically to be horizontal?

To be more specific with the sentence given, I envision an array as being laid out like so:

p, l, a, t, y, p, u, s

...not like this:

``````p
l
a
t
y
p
u
s
``````

Am I right to be confused, or viewing this askew?

• I'm with you, even knowing that longitud applies for both latitude and longitude. I've never heard or read the use of longitud for the lenght of an array (this is the first time). That may be right and very common in some places but untill now I've always heard, read and say: el tamaño del arreglo (arreglo or array). In a mathematical context dimensión will be right too. Note: arreglo is an anglicism and you won't find it in the DRAE. Aug 15, 2015 at 16:11
• Can you edit your question (and the title, especially) to not look like a "poll"/rant question, and focus on the objective part of your question? Aug 16, 2015 at 3:30
• Yes, yes you are. No, just kidding - but you can relate the same root (Long) as in "length". Aug 28, 2015 at 4:37
• "Since parallels of latitude are horizontal, and meridians of longitude are vertical, it seems to that "length" corresponds more to latitude than longitude, at least in this sense" If this was a GRE writing excersice I would say that your assumption is not logically sound. Words have meanings, "longitud" is defined as "Magnitud física que expresa la distancia entre dos puntos." It does not matter how these points are distributed in space. In fact you can speak of longitud when you're talking about the diagonal of a cube Aug 28, 2015 at 14:05
• Finally, we can use "longitud" para una lista (a,b,c) tiene longitud de 3 que es lo mismo que decir que tiene 3 elementos. But not for vectors because longitud de un vector means again distance (module). On a personal remark, I think your question is not well suited for SE. I agree with Filmzy, poll/rant questions are not for here. Aug 28, 2015 at 14:17

Longitude and latitude come both from Latin, respectively longus, "long", and latus, "wide". The Oxford UK and International English Online Dictionary says that longitude comes from

Late Middle English (also denoting length and tallness).

So, sometime in history, it had the same meaning as in Spanish. As can be seen, length can also mean a vertical measure, such as tallness or height.

[...] why a vertical dimension (longitude) is a word for something which seems logically to be horizontal?

But longitude is a horizontal dimension. Its meridians are drawn vertically, but the dimension they measure is horizontal.

Anyway, the «longitud» of an array does not refer to its eastwards or westwards deviation from an origin, but to whether the array is «largo» or «corto». And the quality of «largo» is not *larguitud, we resort to a different latin root (from «largus» to «longus»). We could use «largueza» but we don't. Why? Because of things, as often happens with languages.

TL;DR: «longitud» means both longitude and length, and we are using it in the length sense, as in English.

• Good answer, but I'll add that we can also use largura for length in some cases, though larguitud is indeed wrong. Aug 17, 2015 at 6:30
• @gorpik you're right, in fact I was being ambiguous to avoid an overly long answer (I'm bad at summarising). I guess the reason we don't use «largueza» here is because it implies how long the thing (array in this case) is. Just the opposite of «cortedad», which would imply how short. For measurements, «longitud» (although etymologically longus) has more neutral connotations and less implications about whether the thing is long or short. Aug 17, 2015 at 7:34
• Be careful: largueza usually has an entirely different meaning, closer to generosity. Aug 17, 2015 at 7:36
• @gorpik the primary entry in the DRAE still has a dimensional meaning. The moral one, although really frequent, is rather metaphoric. Aug 17, 2015 at 8:09
• I know, that's why I wrote usually. Nevertheless, the first entry in the DRAE is not always the primary entry; in many cases, and I suspect this is the case here, the first entry refers to the original meaning of the word, even if currently it is used more frequently for other purposes. Aug 17, 2015 at 12:26