Definition of distance in English:



  • 1An amount of space between two things or people.

    ‘I bicycled the short distance home’
    ‘the distance between front and rear wheels’
    • ‘The residential electronics industry has traveled a considerable distance in a relatively short time.’
    • ‘As shown above, using a third taxon to estimate the initial pairwise distances improves their precision.’
    • ‘There will not be any significant loss of distance, and your accuracy will improve.’
    • ‘The walk will take approximately two hours to complete covering a distance of four miles.’
    • ‘The DNA alignment was analyzed with both parsimony and distance matrix methods.’
    • ‘I could always feel the distance separating us as tangible as a stone wall.’
    • ‘The Moon's distance from Earth varies by about 2700 miles over the course of a lunar cycle.’
    • ‘Carrying luggage, changing planes and walking long distances are hassles that most travelers must face.’
    • ‘In general, the various distance estimation methods can be divided into two classes.’
    • ‘Kimura two-parameter genetic distance ranged between 0.0017 and 0.0123.’
    • ‘Printed out and laid end to end, they would cover a distance of 1.3 kilometres.’
    • ‘After locking the door, they walked the short distance from their rented house to the college.’
    • ‘American customers travel long distances at speed on smooth, straight highways.’
    • ‘Katie, walking a short distance in front of the girl, turned round.’
    • ‘Minimum safe distances are computed by adding the maximum pattern radius plus three circular error probable.’
    • ‘Ridgeway elementary is the only school within safe walking distance and is in need of repair.’
    • ‘We find that modes of transportation are often significant and positively related to median commute distance.’
    • ‘Officers tracked the car onto the A4 keeping a distance of 300 metres.’
    • ‘Intensity is also influenced by distance from the fault, ground conditions, and sometimes, directivity.’
    • ‘On one tank of fuel it can cover a distance of a thousand kilometres.’
    interval, space, span, gap, separation, interspace, stretch, extent
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    1. 1.1The condition of being far off; remoteness.
      ‘distance makes things look small’
      figurative ‘a significant distance between German and Allied understandings of the war’
      • ‘Education has at last challenged the tyranny of distance.’
      • ‘It's hard to gauge at a distance; how strong is the opposition inside the countries that are considering this?’
      • ‘But one can have too much distance or get carried away with the flights of fancy one's distance encourages.’
      • ‘Marooned in this far-flung corner of the world by the tyranny of distance and outrageous airfares, the only way to get out of it is to, well, get out of it.’
      • ‘These shows are some distance from either the cheeky chappy style which made Paul Daniels a star, or the camp melodrama of American David Copperfield.’
      • ‘It's hard for me to tell from this distance what condition the fields are in and the absolute best plan of attack.’
      • ‘Sasha smiled, a familiar look of distance flashing in his eye, and I knew he was recalling a memory.’
      • ‘But other than Hass's connections there, Israel is presented with some distance.’
      • ‘A jet and helicopter can get you just about anywhere quickly; remoteness isn't about mere distance.’
      • ‘I experienced a very Australian emotion which is what I would call the tyranny of distance, as this was before the internet and email.’
      • ‘Giving his typically controlled performance at corner-back, Canning was the best player on display by some distance.’
      • ‘They're some significant distance away from being able to create it on their own, even if they can create it.’
      • ‘Yet the sense of space, of distance, the remoteness of the places through which one travelled never contained a hint of menace.’
      • ‘Viewed from a distance, it would be easy to imagine that these little girls, all sass and swagger, are grown-ups.’
      • ‘There is too much distance, a tragic remoteness in our fellowship.’
      • ‘Viewed from a distance, however, they lose some of their urgency, shading even into very dry comedy.’
      • ‘Is there something to be said for having some distance in a friendship?’
      • ‘Although £50,000 has been raised so far through various sponsored events, they are still some distance away from the target.’
      remoteness, farness
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    2. 1.2A far-off point or place.
      ‘watching them from a distance’
      • ‘Looking from a distance, the village appears more like a picture scroll with strong local flavour than reality.’
      • ‘Smoking sections should also be established at a distance from public buildings.’
      • ‘From a distance, the whole village looks like a scene set on a big round plate.’
      • ‘Even Omar, closer to home, is viewed from a distance.’
      • ‘Before us, at Kongdori, is great Apparwat, its snowline just a climb away, and we can see children sledding in the snow at some distance.’
      • ‘From a distance, the village looked like a holiday trailer park surrounded by grotesque, wind-sculptured trees.’
      • ‘Scotland, then, is a place to be viewed at a distance.’
      • ‘Rfid uses teeny computer chips, smaller than half-a-grain of sand, to track items at a distance.’
      • ‘The best possible scenario for a monumental piece of architecture is that its site affords a view from a distance.’
      • ‘The best place to view the giant from a distance is from a wide lay-by, just outside the village.’
      • ‘I will stop and say hello to a cute cat on the street - from a distance.’
      • ‘These women, who at first appear to work at a distance from the harvest scene in the background, are actually detached from it.’
      • ‘The large modernist building was set at a distance from the road beyond several water fountains.’
      • ‘Where they grow the land from a distance looks not red, but lilac.’
      • ‘The Hawa Mahal when viewed from a distance also resembles the Mukut of Lord Krishna.’
      • ‘I always recommend planting tulips in blocks of one colour, as this will give a greater impact when viewed from a distance.’
      • ‘‘The effect of Sumi painting is more striking when viewed from a distance,’ he adds.’
      • ‘Mr Norris made it clear there was to be no charge for viewing from a distance - but any donations would go to St Helena Hospice.’
      • ‘From a distance, his digging areas look like plowed fields, bordered by a gleaming expanse of tidal flats.’
      • ‘I only ever saw him on TV, or at a distance in the town centre.’
    3. 1.3The more remote part of what is visible or discernible.
      ‘I heard police sirens in the distance’
      ‘they sped off into the distance’
      • ‘No light was visible in the distance, save for that from which he'd come.’
      • ‘Stretching, Jim looked around, taking note of the large land masses visible in the distance to either side of them.’
      • ‘Ragged sheets of rain were visible in the distance, and pale lightning strikes forked against the clouds.’
      • ‘A scarlet glow became visible in the distance, flickering through the ethereal trees surrounding the two.’
      • ‘I craned my neck to try and see into the distance but all I could see was a bunch of lights in the distance.’
      • ‘After some 45 laps, he overtook him and raced into the distance - quite sublime and easily the equal of the Viren trip.’
      • ‘Erin shrugged his shoulders and pointed out the window to a bright object just visible in the distance.’
      • ‘Moments later the mainland shrank into the distance, becoming a mere line on the horizon.’
      • ‘Looking southeast, Sante Fe is visible in the distance, spilling down the plain.’
      • ‘It's an area of tundra and lakes with the volcanic spine of the Alaskan peninsula visible in the distance.’
      • ‘Looking up, he saw Evander who was looking straight into the distance at the land that would not be seen for a while longer.’
      • ‘The whales visible in the distance can live here only because they are protected by thick layers of blubber.’
      • ‘This is a family home with spectacular panoramic views over Inverness, the span of the Kessock Bridge visible in the distance.’
      • ‘He was facing the pine forest, the mountains hardly visible in the distance.’
      • ‘A couple of dots in the distance were visible on the ground.’
      • ‘They set off after breakfast, heading east toward the mountain range barely visible in the distance.’
      • ‘Then all was silent; the eyes had disappeared, the figure no longer visible in the distance.’
      • ‘Indeed, it was Captain William Fall, out in the distance, just barely visible to the naked eye.’
      • ‘He looks off into the distance as tears continue to shed from his eyes.’
      • ‘Their objective, the mountains in the distance, was barely visible to them.’
      far away, far off, afar
      yonder, just in view
      on the horizon, in the background
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    4. 1.4An interval of time.
      ‘a distance of more than twenty years’
      • ‘In my memory there is a stillness, a quietness about her that I can still feel, that is almost visible, even in the distance of many years.’
      • ‘For others, the distance of three years makes what happened feel both implausible and unforgivable.’
      • ‘But I cannot look upon these plans at a distance of six months, without feeling that past events ought to teach me how little I can depend on the future.’
  • 2The full length of a race.

    ‘he claimed the 10,000 meter title in only his second race over the distance’
    • ‘Chris Brogan was the only wheelchair athlete to complete the Olympic triathlon distance.’
    • ‘Up until this point race distances varied and there were no restrictions on the design or construction of boats.’
    • ‘In one-loft racing all birds race the same distance and there is a single finishing point.’
    • ‘You sweat an awful lot and can lose 2 to 2.5 kg over a race distance.’
    • ‘Intense neuromuscular training at race distances can't be sustained for weeks at a time.’
    • ‘Tomorrow's slightly shorter distance is her favour as she faces the starter with Jamie Spencer on board.’
    • ‘It will be an Olympic distance triathlon with a 1.5km swim, a 40 km cycle ride and a 10 km run.’
    • ‘Unlike the well-known Hawaii Ironman, the Olympic distance seems much more humane by comparison.’
    • ‘The compounds we used in Australia would probably have lasted for three race distances, but some teams have pushed their tyres right to the limit today.’
    • ‘But golden girl Holmes is almost certain to do only one of her Olympic distances because of a slight injury.’
    • ‘The teams have to walk a distance of 100 miles over the course of ten days.’
    • ‘Kiplagat spotted Kiptoo's potential a year and a half before her camp was officially opened and persuaded her to race longer distances.’
    • ‘Because it is the last time you will ever see the distance raced at an international championships indoors.’
    • ‘You can compete in any Indy race, over any distance and in any car.’
    • ‘Broken swims are often race distances divided into smaller increments with rest periods after each segment.’
    • ‘It seems than Bridgestone made a good tyre over a single-lap, their problem in the recent past, but it needs to be improved over the race distance.’
    • ‘This was our first race team test with the two new cars and we were able to complete simulated race distances with Jenson and Takuma.’
    • ‘The racing distance in the World Championships is governed by time, with the race lasting 40 minutes.’
    • ‘There was a penalty to all this, in that the race distances had to be reduced by one lap from the planned distance.’
    • ‘In 2002 I swam the sprint event and the next year moved up to the Olympic distance.’
    1. 2.1North American Horse Racing The distance from the winning post that a horse must have reached when the winner finishes in order to qualify for a subsequent heat.
      • ‘Most of the "Kentucky horses" made the distance and were able to continue on.’
    2. 2.2Boxing The scheduled length of a fight.
      ‘he has won his first five fights inside the distance’
      • ‘So they continued until Nijinsky had gone two lengths clear inside the distance.’
      • ‘Hersisia, 29, has won all of his 21 bouts so far with 16 stoppages inside the distance.’
      • ‘Peralta takes Foreman the distance and loses a unanimous decision.’
      • ‘In the same year, Larry had 12 fights, winning all bouts some inside the distance.’
      • ‘Arthur has won all 16 of his professional fights so far, 14 inside the distance, and is already ranked 19 in the world.’
  • 3The avoidance of familiarity; aloofness or reserve.

    ‘a mix of warmth and distance makes a good neighbor’
    • ‘I wanted her to either slap me or show me some warmth, the emotional distance was too much to bear.’
    • ‘Dimbleby will be advantaged by the fact that he has never been in BBC programming management and that he has a blend of familiarity yet distance.’
    aloofness, remoteness, detachment, stand-offishness, unfriendliness, haughtiness, hauteur, coolness, coldness, frigidity
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  • 1 Make (someone or something) far off or remote in position or nature.

    ‘her mother wished to distance her from the rough village children’
    • ‘Being housed in Melbourne distances them from their major business and fails to respond to future trends.’
    • ‘I am convinced that someone, even several people, had the task of distancing my brother from his family.’
    • ‘Not only does he have to deal with the French barrier, but speaking Patois also distances him from the English-speakers.’
    • ‘The emotion is characteristically distanced in the first stanza.’
    • ‘The strangely melancholy beauty of these places can't be traversed - we're hopelessly distanced from nature.’
    • ‘I have had a theory that sending money to charities can distance people from the pain and struggle of others.’
    • ‘The personal explanation given today will not distance the honourable member from that.’
    • ‘Their separation had distanced them in mind as well as body.’
    • ‘The very nature of genre fiction distances the reader from these issues.’
    • ‘And an ever increasing gap distances common man and the cops.’
    • ‘He creates a veil between viewer and subject and, with over-emphasis on craft, runs the risk of distancing his audience.’
    • ‘He also distances the viewers from the characters, choosing to focus on the collective struggle rather than the more personal ones.’
    • ‘Any time things got serious I could pull back and allow for some laughs, which was really a way to distance people.’
    • ‘We don't really approve of work which distances the mother from the child.’
    • ‘E-mails provide instant communication and yet distance the sender because they're so impersonal.’
    • ‘There is a preposterousness in the book and the script which distances the audience from both the storyline and the characters.’
    • ‘Flat canvases demanded visual focus; Chen felt this isolated them and distanced her from intimate interaction with them.’
    • ‘Mahathir has attempted to shore up his position by trying to distance the government from corruption allegations.’
    • ‘The reason is that there were some bad pagan customs surrounding cemeteries, and he wanted to distance his people from them.’
    • ‘I'm glad it distances me because I'd rather not be sucked into a movie that had it's own paths for me to go down.’
    withdraw, detach, separate, dissociate, remove, isolate, put at a distance, keep at arm's length, set apart, place far off
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    1. 1.1Declare that one is not connected with or a supporter of (someone or something)
      ‘he sought to distance himself from the proposals’
      • ‘You distanced yourself completely from what had happened.’
      • ‘Sora huffed rudely, distancing himself away from his cousin as if she was a disease.’
      • ‘Subjects further distanced themselves by attributing such experiences to ‘the old me.’’
      • ‘He turned his back towards me as if distancing himself emotionally from me.’
      • ‘With The Invisible Man, he was intent on distancing himself as much as possible from the darkness of his past.’
      • ‘Clearly, the Huntingdon Connection distanced itself early on from Marrant and his mission.’
      • ‘But distancing ourselves seems to be the only way to lessen the struggle.’
      • ‘However, instead of this helping me get closer with Ben and Kate, I just distanced myself further.’
      • ‘Father was depressed and distanced himself further from me since then.’
      • ‘Though the film is undoubtedly a product of widespread Cold War paranoia, the film distances itself enough to objectify its horrors.’
      denounce, disown, reject, condemn, disagree with, wash one's hands of, distance oneself from
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    2. 1.2North American Horse Racing Beat (a horse) by a distance.
      • ‘Sir Archy was distanced in the first two heats, but salvaged the final heat.’
      • ‘He gave way after the first half-mile and was distanced.’


  • go the distance

    • 1Complete a fight without being knocked out.

      ‘he went the distance after being floored in the first round’
      • ‘I'm guessing that Ellis would have won a decision if the fight had gone the distance.’
      • ‘The former WBC champion last year went the distance with Germany's Sven Ottke in an IBF title fight.’
      • ‘When a fight goes the distance, a tense interlude settles in while the judges tally the scorecards.’
      • ‘Hagler: ‘I'm not worried about the rounds because this fight definitely isn't going the distance.‘’
      • ‘Does anyone think the fight is going to go the distance?’
      • ‘Who knows what they would have scored had the fight gone the distance?’
      • ‘As with the previous four fights, the fifth went the distance.’
      • ‘If my fights go the distance, it does not bother me.’
      • ‘Do you think this fight is going to go the distance?’
      • ‘The safest bet here, in my eyes, is to bet the fight to go the distance.’
      1. 1.1(of a boxing match) last the scheduled length.
        ‘six of his fights went the distance’
        • ‘Lord's was the setting for an historic Test match between two old foes which never seemed likely to go the distance.’
        • ‘I definitely expect to go the distance; he's a very durable guy.’
        • ‘If he didn't go the distance, he would owe Hopkins $25,000.’
        • ‘In 1980 he was finally forced to go the distance against journeyman Cookie Wallace.’
        • ‘Anybody who thinks this thing is going the distance will be disappointed.’
        • ‘Although Ali went the distance, the injury took its toll and Norton won on a split decision.’
        • ‘In other words, if a bowler didn't put his opponent away early, he was in trouble - especially if the match went the distance.’
        • ‘Hunter drew level after the restart but the match looked destined to go the distance as neither man could take control.’
        • ‘This time he makes no mistake and the match will go the distance.’
        • ‘Whatever happens will happen, but I do not think it is going to go the distance.’
      2. 1.2Pitch for the entire length of a game.
        • ‘But it had been a little alarming that Maddux, who three times has led the N.L. in complete games, hadn't gone the distance.’
        • ‘The Phillies won the game, 7-6, in 17 innings, with Roberts going the distance.’
        • ‘Wells allowed one run on eight hits, while going the distance on just 100 pitches - with only 19 called balls.’
        • ‘Lackey went the distance for the fourth time in 57 career starts, striking out three and walking one.’
        • ‘I started against the Dodgers, went the distance, and we beat them, 9-1.’
        • ‘Ruth went the distance for a 9-3 win, walking two while striking out three.’
        • ‘Podres went the distance for his 14th victory of the season against three losses.’
        • ‘The odds of a pitcher going the distance are higher when he doesn't waste everyone's time with limp-wristed futility at bat.’
        • ‘The club has no pitcher with a complete game, although several have appeared capable of going the distance.’
        • ‘Toney went the distance for his 10-inning no-hitter.’
      3. 1.3Last for a long time.
        ‘this amplifier system should go the distance’
        • ‘They had ‘not gone the distance in trying to reach a compromise on the issue’.’
        • ‘I threw in a six iron at the green, it went the distance and all of a sudden the eagle chance was there.’
        • ‘When was the last time a move to amend the Constitution went the distance and actually occurred?’
        • ‘My goodness, she's gone the distance, hasn't she?’
        • ‘The fact that the series even went the distance certainly serves as a testament to the vast improvement that UW has undergone in the past two seasons.’
        • ‘But the folks at Altoids have really gone the distance - they hired a cartoon artist and programmer to create an entire role-playing adventure.’
        • ‘She has gone the distance so far and she's proved that she is a tough cookie, so we are praying she will keep getting better.’
        • ‘Our game plan is to go the distance, in spite of persistent speculation to the contrary.’
        • ‘Later, by-the-by, the communion wine jug also went the distance!’
        • ‘They are prepared to go the distance on the running machine to stay in the playground of youth.’
  • keep one's distance

    • 1Stay far away.

      ‘keep your distance from birds feeding their young’
      • ‘The centurion tried to keep his distance with his long sword, but Jacomus tried to stay close with his gladius.’
      • ‘So I decided to keep my distance and stay where I was by my car door.’
      • ‘Stay with your friends and I'll keep my distance.’
      • ‘Be accurate, stay focused, be skeptical but never cynical, keep your distance, don't cross what I call the emotional line and listen carefully.’
      • ‘I wished I had stayed in the back of the car and kept my distance, but it was too late.’
      • ‘We keep our distance, lower our expectations, stay cool, aloof, and separate.’
      • ‘If equipped with long range weapons they will keep their distance and try to stay away from your reach.’
      • ‘Both had done all the right things, the family said - they stayed together, avoided heavy drinking sessions, and kept their distance from local youths.’
      • ‘Kevin's eyes stayed locked onto the coffin, and she kept her distance, her feet very solidly planted on the ground.’
      1. 1.1Maintain one's reserve.
        ‘you had to say nothing and keep your distance’
        • ‘The headmaster of Settle High School criticised parents who kept their distance from the school.’
        • ‘Better, no doubt, to keep your distance so that you can maintain the coveted adversarial relationship.’
        • ‘This is a break with the tradition of analysts keeping their distance from the players in the field so as to maintain their objectivity.’
        • ‘Should I keep my distance to maintain my authority or spend time with everyone to make sure things get done?’
        • ‘More arrogant, to me, is the author who keeps his distance from these giants, having a doubtful reservation, than those of us who openly accept them.’
        • ‘For two years I have kept my thoughts mostly to myself and kept my distance when I couldn't take the rudeness.’
        • ‘To a degree I wish I had kept my distance and simply helped her out of that situation as a friend.’
        • ‘Moses said he saw that the police kept their distance from reserve communities because of a lack of understanding of the people and their culture.’
        • ‘They opened a discussion in which both freely admitted that, in the past, faith leaders had kept their distance from one another.’
        • ‘All in all, though, I've kept my distance from such matters.’
  • within —— distance

    • Near enough to reach by the means specified.

      ‘the parking lot is within easy walking distance’
      ‘he wanted to be within driving distance of his grandparents’
      • ‘Number 48 will appeal to those buyers who want a period property in very good condition within walking distance of their place of work.’
      • ‘No need for transfers as the terminal is within walking distance.’
      • ‘As the Lanarkshire club finally moves to within touching distance of breaking even, it will pain him to leave responsibility for it in someone else's hands.’
      • ‘Gelston's men though needed more wickets to keep the run-rate within hailing distance of their own flimsy haul of 126.’
      • ‘I wanted a good, quiet midprice restaurant within walking distance: the concierge trotted out three, and offered to reserve a table.’
      • ‘Now, significant clusters have formed within driving distance of airport towns such as Carcassonne and Perpignan.’
      • ‘On the trail of jingo-narcissism, it's difficult to stay within shouting distance of television.’
      • ‘Don't compare the skill, courage, or attitudes of your children with other members of the team, at least within their hearing distance.’
      • ‘As I live within a short walking distance of a river, I was happy to discover that the chance of my home flooding each year is just 1 in 1,000 or less.’
      • ‘How about stopping at the most popular scenic spots that are located within a stones throwing distance from the parking lots?’
  • within striking distance

    • Near enough to hit or achieve something.

      ‘the aircraft carrier is dispatched to deep waters within striking distance of Moscow’
      • ‘Johnstone moved to within striking distance of the 1,000 runs mark by making an unbeaten 77 as Hornsea won by 9 wickets.’
      • ‘In the second half, UW was able to remain a factor in the game as they kept themselves within striking distance of the hot-shooting Gaels.’
      • ‘Would you advocate against rebuilding any city within striking distance of the hurricane breeding grounds?’
      • ‘Morton stands at the stern of her boat, dip net poised, waiting for two pink salmon smolts to swim within striking distance.’
      • ‘The Dart is within striking distance and work is well underway on the M50 link near Loughlinstown.’
      • ‘Within the past few minutes, Dr. Jim Thompson says they're now within striking distance of living independent lives.’
      • ‘Any tree within striking distance of a use area should be analyzed.’
      • ‘This put the Kiwis within striking distance of Canada however not close enough to qualify.’
      • ‘Most of his themes were within striking distance of Gordon Brown's vision of a ‘progressive consensus’ in his speech on Monday.’
      • ‘The bombing had been far worse in the North, where we had lived within striking distance of the chemical works at Billingham.’


Middle English (in the sense discord, debate): from Old French or from Latin distantia, from distant- standing apart from the verb distare (see distant).