[ fahr-ther ]
/ ˈfɑr ðər /
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adverb, comparative of far, with farthest as superlative.
at or to a greater distance: He went farther down the road.
at or to a more advanced point: They are going no farther in their studies.
at or to a greater degree or extent: The application of the law was extended farther.
adjective, comparative of far, with farthest as superlative.
more distant or remote than something or some place nearer: the farther side of the mountain.
extending or tending to a greater distance: He made a still farther trip.
Nonstandard. further (defs. 5, 6).


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Origin of farther

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English ferther; originally variant of further

words often confused with farther

Although some usage guides insist that only farther should be used for physical distance ( We walked farther than we planned ), farther and further have been used interchangeably throughout much of their histories. However, only further is used in the adverbial sense “moreover” ( Further, you hurt my feelings ) and in the adjectival senses “more extended” ( no further comment ) and “additional” ( Further bulletins came in ).
The expression all the farther (or further ) in place of as far as occurs chiefly in informal speech: This is all the farther the train goes. See also all.


farther , further (see confusables note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What’s the difference between farther and further?

Farther most commonly means at or to a greater distance, especially a literal distance, as in a few steps farther or two miles farther or We’re moving even farther away. Further can mean the same thing as farther but commonly means to a greater figurative distance, as in Nothing could be further from the truth, or to a greater extent, as in Let’s discuss this further.  

The traditional distinction is that farther is used for literal distances and that further should be used for figurative distances or metaphorical extents, though in everyday communication, they are often used interchangeably, with further often being used for literal distances and farther being used to mean at a more advanced point or to a great extent.

However, further is used in a few ways that farther is not. Further can be used as a verb meaning to advance something, such as an agenda or cause, as in This will help to further our cause. As an adjective, further can mean more extended, as in further delays, or additional, as in We will hold further meetings. It can also be used in the beginning of a sentence or clause to mean the same thing as furthermore, in addition, or moreover, as in I don’t like ice cream. Further, I don’t like pistachios. So why would you buy me pistachio ice cream? 

You can remember that farther is typically used for literal distance by remembering that it’s the comparative form of the adjective far, with the superlative form being farthest.

Here’s an example of farther and further used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: I have to drive farther than usual for work today—I’ll explain further when I get home.

Want to learn more? Go the distance by reading the full breakdown of the difference between farther and further.

Quiz yourself on farther vs. further!

Should farther or further be used in the following sentence?

They are doing this simply to _____ their agenda.

How to use farther in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for farther

/ (ˈfɑːðə) /

to or at a greater distance in space or time
in addition
more distant or remote in space or time

Word Origin for farther

C13: see far, further

usage for farther

Farther, farthest, further, and furthest can all be used to refer to literal distance, but further and furthest are regarded as more correct for figurative senses denoting greater or additional amount, time, etc: further to my letter . Further and furthest are also preferred for figurative distance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with farther


see can't see beyond (farther than) the end of one's nose.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.