Definition of kilometre in English:


(also km) (US kilometer)

Pronunciation: /kɪˈlɒmɪtə//ˈkɪləˌmiːtə/


  • A metric unit of measurement equal to 1,000 metres (approximately 0.62 miles).

    • ‘As with metres and kilometres, we need some new units, or we'd need a lot of zeroes!’
    • ‘Next we will be having our speedometers changed from miles per hour to kilometres per hour.’
    • ‘It is one kilometre wide by a kilometre and a half long and the chicks are protected from predators by electrified wire fencing.’
    • ‘Islands of ice kilometers long and up to two metres thick are common here.’
    • ‘It seems to me like if it takes more kilometers to make a mile, then it should take more kilograms to make a pound.’
    • ‘Once in a while, the funnel of air drops from the sky - it can be as narrow as a few metres across or as wide as two kilometres.’
    • ‘What he calls a crack is more like a canyon, at least 300 metres deep up to a kilometre long yet only a metre wide.’
    • ‘It ought to be pointed out that calculating passenger kilometres is an inexact science.’
    • ‘This is typically displayed in minutes per mile or minutes per kilometer.’
    • ‘Families then move a few miles or kilometers away to an area richer in resources.’
    • ‘They will move around about a quarter of a kilometre an hour and if you measure their rate of moving, they have small home ranges.’
    • ‘People drive in kilometers, fill their gas tanks by litres and heat their homes in degrees centigrade.’
    • ‘The appellant was informed that he had been clocked at 97 kilometers in a 50 kilometer per hour zone.’
    • ‘Selecting kilometres will give you a countdown in metres - you can't have a mixture of both.’
    • ‘In the prairies where they live, they can be seen for a kilometer and a half (nearly a mile).’
    • ‘The scale of alteration can vary in extent from less than a centimetre to many tens of kilometres.’
    • ‘Easier, but not easy, and still only around a billionth of a millimetre over five million kilometres.’
    • ‘The hole it would leave would be two kilometres long and one kilometre wide.’
    • ‘The event consisted of a five and ten kilometre run and walk as well as a one kilometre for the very young, the old and the not so fit.’
    • ‘A meter is about three feet and three inches and a kilometer equals about six tenths of a mile.’


There are two possible pronunciations for kilometre: one with the stress on the ki- and the other with the stress on the -lo-. The first is traditionally considered correct, with a stress pattern similar to other units of measurement such as centimetre. The second pronunciation, which originated in US English and is now also very common in British English, is still regarded as incorrect by some people, especially in British English


Late 18th century: from French kilomètre (see kilo-, metre).