The general definition for horizon is that it's the line where the sky appears to meet the earth's surface. But what if I'm on the outskirts of a city, and behind me it's the city, or maybe just a really tall building, and in front of me there's a lake, and at distance a forest around the lake?

I can clearly distinguish a horizontal line. But is it the horizon, if I only see where the sky meets the forest, and the building behind me?

What if I'm in New York City in Times Square? It's just tall buildings all around me, but I can still see where the sky meets the top of the buildings. Am I looking at the horizon, or at something else?

E.g. John is on top of a building next to times square and is calling Anna who sits in the middle of times square. John tells Anna to look at the horizon to see him. Apart from the fact that it would make much more sense to tell her "look up, I'm on the top of the building", did John use the word horizon correctly?

Does horizon means just when the dirt meets the sky, or can it be a forest meeting the sky, or a building, or anything that is on earth?

  • Welcome to EL&U. The buildings, and the line where they meet the sky, can be 300 or 30,000 feet away from the observer. I therefore believe an answer to your question would be opinion based.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 16, 2019 at 17:56
  • is there a difference if the building is 300 feet away, or maybe 10 feet away? If you look up, you'll still see where the building meets the sky. That's exactly the point of my question
    – Andrei
    Apr 16, 2019 at 17:58
  • The nearer they are, the higher the skyline. On a clear day, if the observer is, say, fifty miles away, the buildings and the horizon may be one single line.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 16, 2019 at 18:06
  • I deduce from what you're saying that where the buildings meet the sky is not the horizon. Did I get you correctly?
    – Andrei
    Apr 16, 2019 at 18:08
  • The definition is clear: it's the line where the earth's surface and the sky appear to meet.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 16, 2019 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Andrei, welcome to EL&U.

'Horizon' is a noun: the line at which the earth's surface and the sky appear to meet.
"the sun rose above the horizon"

Where buildings meet the sky (unless they are far enough away to be indistinguishable from the horizon) it is called the 'Skyline'.

'Skyline' is a noun: an outline of land and buildings defined against the sky.
"The skyline of the city"

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