Azimuth – Definition & Meaning

Azimuth is a term that is used in various fields, including astronomy, navigation, and surveying. It is an essential concept that helps in determining the direction of a celestial body or a point on the earth’s surface. Azimuth plays a crucial role in these fields, and it is essential to understand its definition, meaning, and associations.


Azimuth is defined as the angle between the observer’s meridian and the vertical circle that passes through a celestial body. In navigation, it is the angle between the observer’s meridian and the true north. In surveying, it is the horizontal angle measured clockwise from the north to the point of interest.


The word azimuth comes from the Arabic word “as-sumut,” which means “the directions.” The term was first used in the 14th century by Arab astronomers to describe the horizontal direction of a celestial body. It was later adopted by European astronomers and navigators.

Meaning in different dictionaries

In the Oxford English Dictionary, azimuth is defined as “the horizontal angle or direction of a celestial object or point on the earth’s surface, measured clockwise from true north or south.” In Merriam-Webster, it is defined as “an arc of the horizon measured between a fixed point (such as true north) and the vertical circle passing through the center of an object usually in astronomy and navigation clockwise from the north point through 360 degrees.”


Azimuth is associated with various fields, including astronomy, navigation, and surveying. In astronomy, it is used to locate the position of celestial bodies. In navigation, it helps in determining the direction of a ship or an aircraft. In surveying, it is used to measure the horizontal angle between two points.


Some synonyms of azimuth include direction, bearing, course, heading, and orientation.


There are no direct antonyms of azimuth, but it is often contrasted with altitude, which is the angle between the horizon and a celestial body.

The same root words

The root word of azimuth is “sumut,” which means “direction” in Arabic. It is also related to the word “samt,” which means “path” or “way.”

Example Sentences

  1. The azimuth of the sun at noon is 180 degrees in the northern hemisphere.
  2. The navigator adjusted the ship’s course based on the azimuth reading.
  3. The surveyor used a theodolite to measure the azimuth between two points.
  4. The pilot checked the azimuth indicator to ensure the plane was on the correct heading.
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