verb (used with object), dis·tanced, dis·tanc·ing.


    go the distance,
    1. (in horse racing) to be able to run well in a long race.
    2. 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

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin distantia, equivalent to distant- (see distant) + -ia -y3; replacing Middle English destaunce < Anglo-French
Related formsdis·tance·less, adjective

Synonyms for distance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for go the distance



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
  1. the length of the shortest line segment joining two points
  2. 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
  1. Britisha point on a racecourse 240 yards from the winning post
  2. Britishany interval of more than 20 lengths between any two finishers in a race
  3. 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
  1. boxingto complete a bout without being knocked out
  2. 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
  1. (in a picture) halfway between the foreground and the horizon
  2. (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

verb (tr)

to hold or place at a distance
to separate (oneself) mentally or emotionally from something
to outdo; outstrip
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

Word Origin and History for go the 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

go the distance in Medicine




The extent of space between two objects or places; an intervening space.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with go the distance

go the distance

Carry through a course of action to completion. For example, He said he's willing to go the distance with this project. This expression originated in boxing, where it means “to last for all the rounds that have been scheduled.” In baseball the same term means “to pitch an entire game.” For a synonym, see all the way, def. 1.


see go the distance; keep one's distance; spitting distance.

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