middle distance

  1. Also called middle ground, middle plane. Fine Arts. the represented space between the foreground and background in paintings, drawings, etc.

  2. (in track) a race distance ranging from 400 meters or 440 yards to 1 mile.

Origin of middle distance

First recorded in 1805–15

Words Nearby middle distance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use middle distance in a sentence

  • Behind her, in the middle distance, he sees a train racing toward the intersection.

  • Her wide-set eyes sometimes drifted to the middle distance as her co-stars answered questions.

    Dakota Fanning Grows Up | Gina Piccalo | November 17, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • It was a well-executed wood-cut, showing a dingue in the foreground and, to give scale, a mammoth in the middle distance.

    In Search of the Unknown | Robert W. Chambers
  • In the middle distance ahead of her she could see the summits of Bulbarrow and of Nettlecombe Tout, and they seemed friendly.

  • The Bird Woman chose the middle distance, and for a last time cautioned the Angel as she moved away to lie down and shoot high.

    Freckles | Gene Stratton-Porter
  • My idea is that what artists call middle distance is better suited to her colouring.

    The Second Latchkey | Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson
  • I look into the jumbled stores of the middle distance of memory, and Beckenham seems to me a quite transitory phase.

    Tono Bungay | H. G. Wells

British Dictionary definitions for middle-distance


  1. athletics relating to or denoting races of a length between the sprints and the distance events, esp the 800 metres and the 1500 metres

nounmiddle distance
  1. Also called: middle ground part of a painting, esp a landscape between the foreground and far 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