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This week's theme
Words with horse-related origins

This week's words
horse-and-buggy
horse latitudes
stalking horse
hobbyhorse
Trojan horse

Horse latitudes
Horse latitudes
(Image: USGS)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

horse latitudes

PRONUNCIATION:
(hors LAT-i-toodz, -tyoodz)

MEANING:
noun: Either of the two belts around latitudes 30 to 35 degrees N or S, marked by high pressure, and light variable winds.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. There's a story, not very convincing, that when stuck in such a region of calm with little wind to get them across, sailors threw their cargo of horses overboard to save on rations and to lighten the load. Another conjecture is that the term is derived from Spanish golfo de las yeguas, literally, mares' gulf, alluding to the unpredictable nature of the mares. A related term is doldrums, the calm area in an ocean around the equator.

USAGE:
"Newspapers are emerging from the doldrums of July and August and gathering wind in their sails again as they sweep southwards through the horse latitudes of autumn, their masts (and metaphors -Editor) creaking from the renewed strain of events."
Frank McNally; An Irishman's Diary; The Irish Times (Dublin); Sep 18, 2009.

See more usage examples of horse latitude in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction. -Charles R. Magel, professor of philosophy

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