2. <astronomy> One of the two small circles of the celestial sphere, situated on each side of the equator, at a distance of 23 deg 28 min, and parallel to it, which the sun just reaches at its greatest declination north or south, and from which it turns again toward the equator, the northern circle being called the Tropic of Cancer, and the southern the Tropic of Capricorn, from the names of the two signs at which they touch the ecliptic.
3. <geography> One of the two parallels of terrestrial latitude corresponding to the celestial tropics, and called by the same names. The region lying between these parallels of latitude, or near them on either side.
4. <zoology> Tropic bird, any one of three species of oceanic belonging to the genus Phaethon, found chiefly in tropical seas. They are mostly white, and have two central tail feathers very long and slender. The yellow-billed tropic bird. Phaethon flavirostris (called also boatswain), is found on the Atlantic coast of America, and is common at the Bermudas, where it breeds.
Origin: F. Tropique, L.tropicus of or belonging to a turn, i. E, of the sun, Gr. Of the solstice, (sc) the tropic or solstice, fr. To turn. See Trope.
(20 Jun 2000)
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