Definition of mile in English:



  • 1A unit of linear measure equal to 1,760 yards (approximately 1.609 kilometres).

    • ‘The same numbers apply if I measure distance in miles or centimeters or any other unit.’
    • ‘Every five seconds counted is equal to approximately one mile between you and the storm.’
    • ‘The earth is approximately 93 million miles / 150 million kilometers from the sun.’
    • ‘Each village is considered to own three miles into the forest in every direction.’
    • ‘In one area some 10 square miles [25 square kilometers] of the city was completely flattened.’
    • ‘A hunt can last from a few seconds to several minutes and cover up to two miles (three kilometers).’
    • ‘I suspect it may also be the fault of the speed limits changing from miles per hour to kilometres per hour.’
    • ‘In this new, higher orbit, the craft's linear velocity, measured in miles per hour, was greater than before.’
    • ‘Families then move a few miles or kilometers away to an area richer in resources.’
    • ‘It seems to me like if it takes more kilometers to make a mile, then it should take more kilograms to make a pound.’
    • ‘If we had another five miles [8 kilometers] to go, we might not have all made it.’
    • ‘First of all, if you came from Athens, you had to walk 210 miles [340 kilometers] to get to the site.’
    • ‘Come daybreak, the atoll was about three miles (five kilometers) away and had rough water.’
    • ‘The newly discovered town is about five miles (eight kilometers) from the coast.’
    • ‘It is expected that the Government will soon switch the speed limits from miles to kilometres.’
    • ‘The tsunami swept everything before it for up to five miles (eight kilometers) inland.’
    • ‘Patti said kilometers are shorter than miles, but the walk was still really long.’
    • ‘There were plenty of supporters to cheer on the women as they set off along a five kilometre course - three miles - around the estate.’
    • ‘Cross-channel trains reach speeds of up to 160 kilometers, or 100 miles per hour.’
    • ‘I'd have said it was more like 3.7 miles rather than kilometres.’
    1. 1.1 A race extending over a mile.
      ‘he rode the fastest mile of his entire career in 1914’
      • ‘The three-year-old colt had won each of his five starts this year, all Group I races at a mile.’
    2. 1.2historical A Roman measure of 1,000 paces (approximately 1,620 yards).
      • ‘Etched into the stone are the Roman numerals LIII, the distance in Roman miles to Carlisle.’
  • 2usually milesinformal A very long way or a very great amount.

    ‘vistas which stretch for miles’
    ‘this is my favourite film by a mile’
    • ‘In winning their medals, the two Scotsmen moved British cycling onwards by miles.’
    • ‘And it wasn't a close win - it was a win by miles, so that was nice.’
    • ‘The guitar was the 20th century's most popular instrument by miles.’
    • ‘Woods then bogeyed the ninth for the third time this week to see his lead cut to two after a wild second that missed the green by miles.’
    • ‘And that is still, in my opinion, the best American blog by miles.’
    • ‘And for those who rarely venture South of the river - this beats every bar in West London by miles.’
    • ‘Parents have been told their closure-hit school is not rural - although it is surrounded by miles of fields and there are no shops.’
    • ‘Villages, let alone pubs, don't grow on trees in this part of the world: we simply took the wrong route and missed it by miles.’
    • ‘All afternoon I'd missed much bigger targets by miles!’
    • ‘A part of him refused to entertain the notion that when he reached its edge, he would be confronted by miles of unrelenting desert sand.’
    • ‘Apart from The West Wing, it's the best thing on television by miles and miles.’
    • ‘They were surrounded by miles of forest, moose and black bear, and few people.’
    • ‘Never mind that the VCD is an inferior video format and is separated by miles of digital excellence from the DVD.’
    • ‘It's my favourite album of the year by miles and miles.’
    • ‘Readers would miss the bottom by miles if I were to proffer such advice.’
    • ‘It missed the other man by miles, instead coming to rest beside Eric's desk.’
    • ‘These small dwellings, each separated by miles of forest, will provide nightly respite from the rain.’
    • ‘Just stroll down Boca Chica Beach, a remote stretch of beach and dunes surrounded by miles of brush and cactus.’
    • ‘The US has the highest rates of incarceration in the civilized world, and I mean we hold the record by miles.’
    • ‘The deer taught her how to run, and keep running for miles at a steady pace.’
    a large amount, a fair amount, a good deal, a great deal, a deal, a great quantity, quantities, an abundance, a wealth, a profusion, plenty, masses
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as submodifier miles
  • By a great amount or a long way.

    ‘the second tape is miles better’
    • ‘He hasn't looked happy so far in the championship at centre half-back and was miles off the pace in the frenetic first twenty minutes.’
    preoccupied, diverted, inattentive, vague, absorbed, engrossed, abstracted, distrait, distant, absent, absent-minded, faraway
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  • be miles away

    • informal Be lost in thought and unaware of what is happening around one.

      ‘I was thinking about something else - I was miles away’
      • ‘I could stare straight ahead but be miles away in seconds.’
      • ‘Part of your mind was focussing on the road, but you were miles away.’
  • go the extra mile

    • Make a special effort to achieve something.

      ‘state regulators will go the extra mile to ensure that this settlement is as investor-friendly as possible’
      • ‘Now is an ideal time to go the extra mile with extra service or courtesy.’
      • ‘Professionalism for the rest of us means being willing to go the extra mile and work the extra hours.’
      • ‘When you go the extra mile for your students, they are more likely to go the extra mile for you.’
      • ‘Providers need to be well trained and academically affiliated providers who can expend the time and effort to go the extra mile for their patients.’
      • ‘The private hospitality outlets generally did not have this approach, but went the extra mile to ensure good value - and those are the places where we stayed longer and spent more money.’
      • ‘Our ideal candidate will also be a determined achiever, that is, a person who goes the extra mile to achieve personal goals.’
      • ‘Carol went the extra mile with this and her diligence has led directly to the discovery of nearly half a million contraband cigarettes.’
      • ‘It is worth going that extra mile when you know they've gone the extra mile to accommodate you.’
      • ‘More companies should take the extra steps, go the extra mile to show some pride in their product and support the people who paid good money to buy their game.’
      • ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award is for a person who has gone the extra mile in the course of their paid duties or voluntary work and has demonstrated a lifelong dedication.’
  • a mile a minute

    • informal Very quickly.

      ‘he talks a mile a minute’
      • ‘And we've got to wonder, if you're able to talk a mile a minute on the ground, how do you calculate the speed of speech at cruising altitude?’
      • ‘She reappeared just as quickly, talking a mile a minute.’
      • ‘From his home in Prince Edward Island, words spill out at a mile a minute as he describes his life as a fiddler and stepdancer.’
      • ‘Within minutes, Scott had Ellie talking a mile a minute about everything she could think of.’
      • ‘Right now, he's shooting his mouth off a mile a minute on his mobile.’
      • ‘Apparently, he pulled the ‘nicknames’ out of his head a mile a minute.’
      • ‘Thousands of emotions were rushing through my body a mile a minute.’
      • ‘Anna was breathing fast, and her heart was racing a mile a minute.’
      • ‘He appears in many of the films just as he is in person - talking a mile a minute from behind thick glasses, his tongue working overtime to keep up with the rapid-fire messages from his brain.’
      • ‘The admiral stared at the blank screen for a few more minutes, his mind whirling a mile a minute.’
      quickly, fast, swiftly, speedily, at speed, at full speed, at the speed of light, post-haste, hotfoot, at full tilt, as fast as one's legs can carry one, at a gallop, expeditiously, briskly, promptly
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  • miles from anywhere

    • informal In a very isolated place.

      ‘it can be lonely, living miles from anywhere’
      • ‘There was one large house, and eight smaller ones, miles from anywhere else.’
      • ‘When I worked for Bright Star they had their store in an old military bomb store miles from anywhere.’
      • ‘Hundreds and hundreds of miles from anywhere, the spot was the very ‘climax of desolation,’ as one of Stuart's fellow explorers once put it, and Stuart and his men had gone through hell to get there.’
      • ‘A million miles from anywhere, it is America's most far-flung state but its isolated beauty is a huge attraction for adventures and honeymooners.’
      • ‘Breezily, reassuringly, I said ‘Oh well, it's not like we're miles from anywhere.’’
      • ‘The fortuitous setting of the Bilderberg Jan Luyken means that it overcomes the usual annoying paradox of hotels in major cities: the ones close to everything are too noisy, and the ones quiet enough to permit sleep are miles from anywhere.’
      • ‘They were miles from anywhere and mum couldn't get a signal on her mobile phone, so she had to walk quite a way to get help.’
      • ‘You'll feel a million miles from anywhere, especially at night, yet you're only a 15-minute cab ride from town (and there's a free minibus).’
      • ‘Nobody thought York was a possibility, because it's miles from anywhere.’
      • ‘I couldn't go for a walk because the house was miles from anywhere and it was surrounded by plains.’
  • the mile-high club

    • humorous Used in reference to having sex on an aircraft.

      ‘she joined the mile-high club by making love on a flight between New York and LA’
      • ‘BA said there are one or two couples caught each year trying to join the mile-high club on its flights.’
      • ‘After a trip to the mile-high club, Oliver and Emily begin an unlikely relationship that'll develop over their adult lives.’
      • ‘Uses the pick-up line, ‘So, are you a member of the mile-high club?’’
      • ‘I was about to get to the part where I became a member of the mile-high club, when I noticed everyone had joined in another conversation.’
      • ‘At this point, he got a wicked (if rather glassy) gleam in his eye and mentioned the mile-high club.’
  • run a mile

    • informal Used with reference to a situation regarded as frightening or alarming.

      ‘if someone proposed to me I'd probably run a mile’
      • ‘I needed somebody to overpower, dominate and control me, which was what I knew and was comfortable with, and actually, if I had met a man who was supportive and gentle, I'd have probably run a mile.’
      • ‘When I was at school I would have run a mile if I someone said a politician was going to give a lecture!’
      • ‘The fact that the police are running a mile from wanting to enforce this speaks volumes.’
      • ‘Politicians and education bureaucrats are running a mile after parents in Moray saw off their efforts to close umpteen rural schools.’
      • ‘For youngsters such as 15-year-old Princess Beatrice and her younger sister, Eugenie, the traditional Easter Day church service meant braving the cameras in the type of garb which would send the average teenager running a mile.’
      • ‘If anyone says to me that those things are the big thing for autumn/winter, I run a mile.’
      • ‘If you ask them to help with some literacy they run a mile.’
      • ‘Football people - players, managers, chairmen - are so used to being asked soft questions that they would probably run a mile from a programme that demanded outright frankness from its guests.’
      • ‘Executives who would run a mile if approached on the Tube by one of these youths have decided they are the vessels through which the community is represented.’
      • ‘If an asylum seeker is told they have to seek the permission of the Minister or seek legal advice, they will probably run a mile.’
  • see (or tell or spot) something a mile off

    • informal Recognize something very easily.

      ‘the baddies can be spotted a mile off’
      • ‘Viewers have become so adept at decoding adverts that your average post-modern couch potato can spot a marketing strategy a mile off.’
      • ‘If you put grass cuttings in your bin they spot it a mile off.’
      • ‘You spot them a mile off and they were packing the boat this morning to town.’
      • ‘The ‘scary’ bits are so clichéd they can be seen a mile off.’
      • ‘Book lovers can spot a heavyweight writer a mile off.’
      • ‘I don't quite know what it is, but I can still spot it a mile off.’
      • ‘You can spot them a mile off - crew cuts, their best going-to-court suit and a black rubbish bag full of their stuff.’
      • ‘It is occasionally a little corny dramatically and the plot twists can be seen a mile off but technically the film works.’
      • ‘‘We really were sure that we'd spot the secret shopper a mile off but we really, honestly didn't ’, she says.’
      • ‘Thing is, there are still a lot that don't know how to carry this off successfully and you're going to be able to spot them a mile off.’
  • stand (or stick) out a mile

    • informal Be very obvious.

      ‘his skill stood out a mile’
      • ‘And any review must surely consider whether Salesbury Hall should host the show again - when the problems of getting large numbers of people to and from that location stand out a mile.’
      • ‘For a team on a bit of roll like Aberdeen (three wins and a draw in their last four games) their odds stuck out a mile.’
      • ‘They stand out a mile, and their final act of defiance is appallingly preposterous and embarrassing.’
      • ‘As it was, he was also wearing his travelling gear, painfully bright clothing that stood out a mile against his dark skin.’
      • ‘His performance stands out a mile and there isn't enough of him.’
      • ‘But the two nuns stood out a mile - both were dressed in their habits and both were tall, strong looking women.’
      • ‘It's worrying that mistakes that would stand out a mile to patients are being taken as gospel for all sorts of decisions made by healthcare staff, insurers and solicitors.’
      • ‘It stood out a mile against the milky-white skin.’
      • ‘I stood out a mile, a huge, rustling, fluorescent yellow blob on the green landscape of life.’
      • ‘Like, you know, when someone on a soap opera goes undercover, they wear a hat and yet they're the only one wearing a hat so they stick out a mile.’
      clear, plain, plain to see, crystal clear, evident, apparent, manifest, patent, conspicuous, pronounced, transparent, clear-cut, palpable, prominent, marked, decided, salient, striking, distinct, bold, noticeable, perceptible, perceivable, visible, discernible, detectable, observable, tangible, recognizable
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Old English mīl, based on Latin mil(l)ia, plural of mille ‘thousand’ (the original Roman unit of distance was mille passus ‘a thousand paces’).