American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Either of two belts of latitudes located over the oceans at about 30° to 35° north and south, having high barometric pressure, calms, and light, changeable winds.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Nautical, a part of the North Atlantic ocean between the region of westerly winds of higher latitudes and the region of the trade-winds of the tropics, notorious for tedious calms. “They were so called from the circumstance that vessels formerly bound from New England to the West Indies, with a deck-load of horses, were often so delayed in this calm belt of Cancer, that, for the want of water for their animals, they were compelled to throw a portion of them overboard.”
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. a space in the North Atlantic famous for calms and baffling winds, being between the westerly winds of higher latitudes and the trade winds.
- Possibly from Spanish golfo de las yeguas, mares' sea. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“They submerged to their chins in the tropical broth, the pot of doldrums, the horse latitudes that modern landlubbers had domesticated and miniaturized, wrapping themselves willingly in its enervating ripples.”
“How exhilarating it must have been to sail the horse latitudes and the roaring forties around the cape, through the icebound gateway between the two greatest oceans of the world.”
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