- the extent or amount of space between two things, points, lines, etc.
- the state or fact of being apart in space, as of one thing from another; remoteness.
- a linear extent of space: Seven miles is a distance too great to walk in an hour.
- an expanse; area: A vast distance of water surrounded the ship.
- the interval between two points of time; an extent of time: His vacation period was a good distance away.
- remoteness or difference in any respect: Our philosophies are a long distance apart.
- an amount of progress: We've come a long distance on the project.
- a distant point, place, or region.
- the distant part of a field of view: a tree in the distance.
- absence of warmth; reserve: Their first meeting in several years was hampered by a certain distance between them.
- Music. interval(def 6).
- aesthetic distance.
- Horse Racing. (in a heat race) the space measured back from the winning post that a horse must reach by the time the winner passes the winning post or be eliminated from subsequent heats.
- Mathematics. the greatest lower bound of differences between points, one from each of two given sets.
- Obsolete. disagreement or dissension; a quarrel.
- to leave behind at a distance, as at a race; surpass.
- to place at a distance.
- to cause to appear distant.
- go the distance,
- (in horse racing) to be able to run well in a long race.
- Informal.to finish or complete something, especially something difficult, challenging, or requiring sustained effort.
- keep at a distance, to treat coldly or in an unfriendly manner.
- keep one's distance, to avoid becoming familiar or involved; remain cool or aloof.
Origin of distance
SynonymsSee more synonyms for distance on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for distance
“The level of outside support… has not been sufficient enough for them to distance themselves from al Nusra,” Cafarella said.ISIS Fight Has a Spy Shortage, Intel Chair Says
January 2, 2015
The younger brother would try everything in his power from a distance to subdue the roaring flames of passion.Decoding Vincent Van Gogh’s Tempestuous, Fragile Mind
December 7, 2014
Does she need to distance herself from the deregulatory policies of the Bill Clinton years?Want President Hillary? Then Primary Her
November 24, 2014
There is a disconnect, which allows for some distance between his actions and your button presses.I Felt Like Showering After the First-Person Sex in ‘Grand Theft Auto’
November 22, 2014
Snow-capped mountains emerge gently into view in the distance, covered in pine trees at the highest elevations.Heart of Darkness: Into Afghanistan’s Taliban Valley
Matt Trevithick, Daniel Seckman
November 15, 2014
These gradually died away in the distance, and were heard no more.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
In the distance they could see the others following ghostly lamps.
He had seen her only at a distance since their talk at Newport.
Reached the pool found by me on the 24th; distance seventeen miles.
The Surveyor-General and a party accompanied us for some distance along the road.
- the intervening space between two points or things
- the length of this gap
- the state of being apart in space; remoteness
- an interval between two points in time
- the extent of progress; advance
- a distant place or timehe lives at a distance from his work
- a separation or remoteness in relationship; disparity
- the length of the shortest line segment joining two points
- the length along a straight line or curve
- the distance the most distant or a faraway part of the visible scene or landscape
- horse racing
- Britisha point on a racecourse 240 yards from the winning post
- Britishany interval of more than 20 lengths between any two finishers in a race
- USthe part of a racecourse that a horse must reach in any heat before the winner passes the finishing line in order to qualify for later heats
- go the distance
- boxingto complete a bout without being knocked out
- to be able to complete an assigned task or responsibility
- keep one's distance to maintain a proper or discreet reserve in respect of another person
- the distant parts of a picture, such as a landscape
- middle distance
- (in a picture) halfway between the foreground and the horizon
- (in a natural situation) halfway between the observer and the horizon
- (modifier) athletics relating to or denoting the longer races, usually those longer than a milea distance runner
- to hold or place at a distance
- to separate (oneself) mentally or emotionally from something
- to outdo; outstrip
Word Origin and History for distance
late 13c., "quarrel, estrangement, discord, strife," from Old French destance (13c.), from Latin distantia "a standing apart," from distantem (nominative distans) "standing apart, separate, distant," present participle of distare "stand apart," from dis- "apart, off" (see dis-) + stare "to stand" (see stet).
Meaning "remoteness, space between things or places" is late 14c. The figurative sense of "aloofness" is the same as in stand-offish. Phrase go the distance (1930s) seems to be originally from the prize ring, where the word meant "scheduled length of a bout."
1570s (transitive); 1640s (intransitive), from distance (n.). Related: Distanced; distancing.
- The extent of space between two objects or places; an intervening space.
Idioms and Phrases with distance
see go the distance; keep one's distance; spitting distance.