Why do we say Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn?
They are respectively the northernmost and southernmost lines of latitude where, at some points in the year, it's possible to see the sun directly overhead. The intertropical zone (also called the tropics) is delimited by them.
Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer; the only place I've heard the word "tropic" used as a singular noun.
We can holiday to the tropics, not the tropic (unless you were making a play on words and went to literally a point on the Tropic of Capricorn).
This (tropics vs Tropic of Capricorn/Cancer) raised my suspicion that perhaps "tropic" is a mathematical term, and all lines of latitude within this region are called tropics. And the boundaries, as points of interest (as well as the equator), are the only ones to have names. This doesn't seem to be the case though (after some research).
Etymology of the word "tropic" from Wiktionary:
From Late Latin tropicus (“of or pertaining to the solstice, as a noun, one of the tropics”), from Ancient Greek τροπικός (tropikós, “of or pertaining to a turn or change; or the solstice; or a trope or figure; tropic; tropical; etc.”), from τροπή (tropḗ, “turn; solstice; trope”).
So it seems to be to do with the solstice, which makes sense, because only during a solstice is the sun directly overhead at one of the two tropics.
But now I wonder why the entire region in-between them can be called "the tropics" too? Or tropical.... doesn't seem to fit with this greek/latin origin.
And why was this word chosen to name the two lines?