horse latitudes

horse latitudes

noun
the latitudes, approximately 30° N and S, forming the edges of the trade-wind belt, characterized by high atmospheric pressure with calms and light variable winds.

Origin:
1765–75; probably as translation of Spanish golfo de las yeguas literally, mares' sea; explanation of the literal sense remains uncertain, despite numerous hypotheses

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World English Dictionary
horse latitudes
 
pl n
nautical the latitudes near 30°N or 30°S at sea, characterized by baffling winds, calms, and high barometric pressure
 
[C18: referring either to the high mortality of horses on board ship in these latitudes or to dead horse (nautical slang: advance pay), which sailors expected to work off by this stage of a voyage]

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
horse latitudes   (hôrs)  Pronunciation Key 
Either of two regions of the globe, found over the oceans about 30 degrees north and south of the equator, where winds are light and the weather is hot and dry. They are associated with high atmospheric pressure and with the large-scale descent of cool dry air that spreads either toward the equator, as the trade winds, or toward the poles, as the westerlies.
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