Also called statute mile. a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet, or 1760 yards (1.609 kilometers).
any of various other units of distance or length at different periods and in different countries.Compare Roman mile.
a notable distance or margin: missed the target by a mile. Abbreviation: mi, mi.

Origin of mile

before 1000; Middle English; Old English mīl < Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mile

statute, square, nautical

Examples from the Web for mile

Contemporary Examples of mile

Historical Examples of mile

  • There's one about a quarter of a mile down the stream—Stetson's boat.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He was already a mile distant from the vessel when Captain Haley came on deck.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They saw an American ship riding at anchor a mile or more from shore.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The feed is good a mile down from the spring, although it is very old and dry.

  • He had started on the return journey, and was only a mile from Yuin when we overtook him.

British Dictionary definitions for mile



Also called: statute mile a unit of length used in the UK, the US, and certain other countries, equal to 1760 yards. 1 mile is equivalent to 1.609 34 kilometres
any of various units of length used at different times and places, esp the Roman mile, equivalent to 1620 yards
(often plural) informal a great distance; great dealhe missed by a mile
a race extending over a mile


miles (intensifier)he likes his new job miles better

Word Origin for mile

Old English mīl, from Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces)
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 mile

Old English mil, from West Germanic *milja (cf. Middle Dutch mile, Dutch mijl, Old High German mila, German meile), from Latin mila "thousands," plural of mille "a thousand" (neuter plural was mistaken in Germanic as a fem. singular), of unknown origin.

The Latin word also is the source of French mille, Italian miglio, Spanish milla. The Scandinavian words (Old Norse mila, etc.) are from English. An ancient Roman mile was 1,000 double paces (one step with each foot), for about 4,860 feet, but there were many local variants and a modern statute mile is about 400 feet longer. In Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, the Latin word was applied arbitrarily to the ancient Germanic rasta, a measure of from 3.25 to 6 English miles. Mile-a-minute (adj.) "very fast" is attested from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mile in Science



A unit of length in the US Customary System, equal to 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards (about 1.61 kilometers). Also called statute mile
See nautical mile. See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with mile


In addition to the idioms beginning with mile

  • mile a minute, a
  • miles and miles

also see:

  • miss by a mile
  • miss is as good as a mile
  • stick out (like a mile)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.