• Distance


    • IPA: /ˈdɪstÉ™ns/

    Alternative forms


    From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin distantia ("distance, remoteneness, difference"), from distāns, present participle of distō ("I stand apart, I am separate, distant, or different"), from di-, dis- ("apart") + stō ("I stand").

    Full definition of distance



    (countable and uncountable; plural distances)
    1. (countable) The amount of space between two points, usually geographical points, usually (but not necessarily) measured along a straight line.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 5, Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, , down the nave to the western door. At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    2. The distance to Petersborough is thirty miles.
      There is a long distance between Moscow and Vladivostok.
    3. Length or interval of time.
      • Priorten years' distance between one and the other
      • Playfairthe writings of Euclid at the distance of two thousand years
    4. (countable, informal) The difference; the subjective measure between two quantities.
      We're narrowing the distance between the two versions of the bill.
      The distance between the lowest and next gear on my bicycle is annoying.
    5. Remoteness of place; a remote place.
      • Washington Irvingeasily managed from a distance
      • T. Campbell'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view.
      • AddisonHe waits at distance till he hears from Cato.
    6. Remoteness in succession or relation.the distance between a descendant and his ancestor
    7. A space marked out in the last part of a racecourse.
      • L'Estrangethe horse that ran the whole field out of distance
    8. (uncountable, figuratively) The entire amount of progress to an objective.
      He had promised to perform this task, but did not go the distance.
    9. (uncountable, figuratively) A withholding of intimacy; alienation; variance.
      The friendship did not survive the row: they kept each other at a distance.
      • Francis BaconSetting them factions at distance, or at least distrust amongst themselves.
      • MiltonOn the part of Heaven,
        Now alienated, distance and distaste.
    10. The remoteness or reserve which respect requires; hence, respect; ceremoniousness.
      • DrydenI hope your modesty
        Will know what distance to the crown is due.
      • Atterbury'Tis by respect and distance that authority is upheld.


    Related terms


    1. (transitive) To move away (from) someone or something.He distanced himself from the comments made by some of his colleagues.
    2. (transitive) To leave at a distance; to outpace, leave behind.
      • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, p. 71:Then the horse, with muscles strong as steel, distanced the sound.
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