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tropic of Cancer

noun
1.
See under tropic (def 1a).
Origin
1545-1555
1545-55

tropic

[trop-ik] /ˈtrɒp ɪk/
noun
1.
Geography.
  1. 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.
  2. the tropics, the regions lying between and near these parallels of latitude; the Torrid Zone and neighboring regions.
2.
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.
adjective
3.
of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or occurring in the tropics; tropical:
romance under the tropic skies of Old Mexico.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin tropicus < Greek tropikós pertaining to a turn, equivalent to tróp(os) turn + -ikos -ic
Related forms
nontropic, adjective
untropic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for tropic-cancer

tropic

/ˈtrɒpɪk/
noun
1.
(sometimes capital) either of the parallel lines of latitude at about 231/2°N (tropic of Cancer) and 231/2°S (tropic of Capricorn) of the equator
2.
(often capital) the tropics, that part of the earth's surface between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn; the Torrid Zone
3.
(astronomy) either of the two parallel circles on the celestial sphere having the same latitudes and names as the corresponding lines on the earth
adjective
4.
a less common word for tropical
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin tropicus belonging to a turn, from Greek tropikos, from tropos a turn; from the ancient belief that the sun turned back at the solstices
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tropic-cancer

tropic

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tropic-cancer in Science
tropic
  (trŏp'ĭk)   
  1. 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.

  2. 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.


Tropic of Cancer  
The parallel of latitude approximately 23°27' north. It forms the boundary between the Torrid and North Temperate zones.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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tropic-cancer in Culture

Tropic of Cancer definition


Imaginary line that circles the Earth about one-quarter of the way from the equator to the North Pole. The sun is directly overhead at the June solstice.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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10
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