Open main menu

Wiktionary β

See also: distancé



Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin distantia (distance, remoteneness, difference), from distāns, present participle of distō (I stand apart, I am separate, distant, or different), from di-, dis- (apart) + stō (I stand).



distance (countable and uncountable, plural distances)

  1. (countable) The amount of space between two points, usually geographical points, usually (but not necessarily) measured along a straight line.
    The distance to Petersborough is thirty miles.  There is a long distance between Moscow and Vladivostok.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, [], down the nave to the western door. [] At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
  2. Length or interval of time.
    • Matthew Prior (1664-1721)
      ten years' distance between one and the other
    • John Playfair (1748-1819)
      the writings of Euclid at the distance of two thousand years
  3. (countable, informal) The difference; the subjective measure between two quantities.
    We're narrowing the distance between the two versions of the bill.  The distance between the lowest and next gear on my bicycle is annoying.
  4. Remoteness of place; a remote place.
  5. Remoteness in succession or relation.
    the distance between a descendant and his ancestor
  6. A space marked out in the last part of a racecourse.
    • Roger L'Estrange (1616-1704)
      the horse that ran the whole field out of distance
  7. (uncountable, figuratively) The entire amount of progress to an objective.
    He had promised to perform this task, but did not go the distance.
  8. (uncountable, figuratively) A withholding of intimacy; alienation; variance.
    The friendship did not survive the row: they kept each other at a distance.
    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
      Setting them [factions] at distance, or at least distrust amongst themselves.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      On the part of Heaven, / Now alienated, distance and distaste.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, OCLC 16832619:
      In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass. [] Strangers might enter the room, but they were made to feel that they were there on sufferance: they were received with distance and suspicion.
  9. The remoteness or reserve which respect requires; hence, respect; ceremoniousness.
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      I hope your modesty / Will know what distance to the crown is due.
    • Francis Atterbury (1663-1732)
      'Tis by respect and distance that authority is upheld.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



distance (third-person singular simple present distances, present participle distancing, simple past and past participle distanced)

  1. (transitive) To move away (from) someone or something.
    He distanced himself from the comments made by some of his colleagues.
  2. (transitive) To leave at a distance; to outpace, leave behind.
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, p. 71:
      Then the horse, with muscles strong as steel, distanced the sound.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit




From French distance.


  • IPA(key): /distanɡsə/, [d̥iˈsd̥ɑŋsə]


distance c (singular definite distancen, plural indefinite distancer)

  1. distance
  2. detachment





distance f (5 declension)

  1. distance
  2. interval
  3. railway division