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A cuboid demonstrating the dimensions length, width, and height

Height is the measurement of vertical distance, but has two meanings in common use. It can either indicate how "tall" something is, or how "high up" it is. For example one could say "That is a tall building", or "That airplane is high up in the sky". These can both be referred to as the height of the object, as in "The height of the building is 50 m" or "The height of the airplane is 10,000 m". When used to describe how high something like an airplane or mountain peak is from sea level, height is more often called altitude. Height is measured along the vertical (y) axis between a specified point and another point.

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Etymology

English high is derived from Old English hēah, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *xauxa-z, from a PIE base *keuk-. The derived noun hight, also highth, is from Old English híehþo, later héahþu, as it were from Proto-Germanic *xaux-iþa.

In mathematics

Dimensional models define height as the third dimension, the other two being length and width. If we construct a plane formed by the length and width, and construct a line which intersects that plane at a 90 degree angle, then the height is measured along that line.

Height can also refer to:

1) the altitude of a triangle, which is the length from a vertex of a triangle to the line formed by the opposite side;

2) a measurement in a circular segment of the length from the point of the circular segment farthest from the center, to trc of the segment (see diagram in circular segment).

In geology

Although height is relative to a plane of reference, most measurements of height in the physical world are based upon a zero surface, known as sea level. Both altitude and elevation, two synonyms for height, are usually defined as the position of a point above the mean sea level. One can extend the sea-level surface under the continents: naively, one can imagine a lot of narrow canals through the continents. In practice, the sea level under a continent has to be computed from gravity measurements, and slightly different computational methods exist; see Geodesy, heights.

In geodesy

Instead of using the sea level, geodesists often prefer to define height from the surface of a reference ellipsoid, see Geodetic system, vertical datum.

Defining the height of geographic landmarks becomes a question of reference. For example, the highest mountain by elevation in reference to sea level belongs to Mount Everest, located on the border of Nepal and Tibet, China; however the highest mountain by measurement of apex to base belongs to Mauna Kea in Hawaii, United States.

In aviation

In aviation terminology, the terms height, altitude, and elevation are not synonyms. Usually, the altitude of an aircraft is measured from sea level, while its height is measured from ground level. Elevation is also measured from sea level, but is most often regarded as a property of the ground. Thus, elevation plus height can equal altitude. But the term altitude has several meanings in aviation; see Altitude in aviation.

In human culture

Human height is one of the areas of study within anthropometry. While height variations within a population are largely genetic, height variations between populations are mostly environmental.

The United Nations uses height (among other statistics) to monitor nutritional standards in developing nations. In human populations, average height can distill down complex data about the group's birth, upbringing, social class, diet, and health care system. However, the height of a human is not always directly connected or related to such things as nutrition, social class, etc.

References

See also


Simple English

Height is the distance between the lowest end and highest end of an object.

For example, people consider the bottom of the foot a person's lowest end, and the top of the head a person's highest end. The distance between my lowest end--the bottom of my foot--and my highest end--the top of my head--measures out to 64 inches, so my height measures out to 64 inches too. My height is 64 inches.

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