- a unit of length, the common measure of distances equal to 1000 meters, and equivalent to 3280.8 feet or 0.621 mile. Abbreviation: km
Also especially British, kil·o·me·tre.
Origin of kilometer
The usual pronunciation for units of measurement starting with kilo-, as kilocalorie, kiloliter, and kilohertz, as well as for units of length ending in the base word meter, as centimeter, hectometer, and millimeter, gives primary stress to the first syllable and secondary to the third. It would seem logical for kilometer to follow this pattern, and in fact the pronunciation [kil-uh-mee-ter] /ˈkɪl əˌmi tər/ has been used since the early 1800's. A second pronunciation: [ki-lom-i-ter] /kɪˈlɒm ɪ tər/, with stress on the second syllable only, was first recorded in America before 1830. Although often criticized on the basis of analogy, this pronunciation has persisted in American English, increasing in frequency, and has gained popularity in British English as well. It is reinforced by words for instruments (rather than units) of measurement ending in -meter, as thermometer, barometer, and speedometer, having stress on the -om syllable. Both pronunciations are used by educated speakers, including members of the scientific community.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for kilometer
That means it probably flew back up as much as a kilometer before coming back down.Earthlings, We Landed on a Comet
Matthew R. Francis
November 12, 2014
Her clothes and purse were found a kilometer away with money still in her wallet.Italy’s Scariest Serial Killer Returns
Barbie Latza Nadeau
May 7, 2014
Several people have been killed by artillery shells from Syria that landed on the Turkish side of the 900 kilometer border.Turkish PM Accused of Playing War Games Ahead of Election
March 24, 2014
He also says the “spirit of Eataly is contrary to the Slow Food movement or zero kilometer initiative to eat local.”Italy Plans a Disneyland for Foodies
Barbie Latza Nadeau
March 16, 2014
While traveling along the 40 kilometer route, make sure to stop in some of the quaint villages, particularly Beuvron-en-Auge.On La Route du Cidre: Getting Buzzed on Normandy’s Cider Trail
September 22, 2013
The 1st Battalion went to Juvancourt, about a kilometer distant.The Delta of the Triple Elevens
William Elmer Bachman
They made that kilometer from source to target, literally, in nothing flat.Ministry of Disturbance
Henry Beam Piper
There is a road about every kilometer and they run roughly northwest and northeast.The Red Watch
J. A. Currie
Scarcely a kilometer ahead they came to a wall of lava that barred their path.The Lani People
J. F. Bone
It is little more than a kilometer from here to the village.Behind the Scenes in Warring Germany
Edward Lyell Fox
Word Origin and History for kilometer
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000 meters (0.62 mile). See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.