Distance is an amount of space between things. From a distance, it's hard to tell if someone's wearing a vampire costume or just a chic black outfit.

The noun distance usually refers to physical space in between two objects, like the distance between your parking spot and the entrance to the mall. It can also mean an interval in time, like a distance of two years since you graduated. Another meaning of distance is remoteness, like the distance between you and a close friend who doesn't talk to you much these days. The Latin root is distantia, "a standing apart."

Definitions of distance

n the property created by the space between two objects or points

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the property of distance in general
a distance
mean distance
the arithmetic mean of the maximum and minimum distances of a celestial body (satellite or secondary star) from its primary
farawayness, farness, remoteness
the property of being remote
closeness, nearness
the spatial property resulting from a relatively small distance
the distance (measured in the direction of propagation) between two points in the same phase in consecutive cycles of a wave
focal distance, focal length
the distance from a lens to its focus
hyperfocal distance
the distance in front of a lens that is focused at infinity beyond which all objects are well defined and clear
the distance leaped (or to be leaped)
the distance or interval between two points
the distance from the center of a car's front wheel to the rear axle
interval, separation
the distance between things
degree of figurative distance or separation
distance measured in the aggregate number of yards
hour, minute
distance measured by the time taken to cover it
milage, mileage
distance measured in miles
distance of something above a reference point (such as sea level)
hour angle
the angular distance along the celestial equator from the observer's meridian to the hour circle of a given celestial body
far cry
distance estimated in terms of the audibility of a cry
propinquity, proximity
the property of being close together
adjacency, contiguity, contiguousness
the attribute of being so near as to be touching
(ballet) the height of a dancer's leap or jump
the distance by which one thing clears another; the space between them
equality of elevation above sea level
altitude, height
elevation especially above sea level or above the earth's surface
grade, ground level
the height of the ground on which something stands
water level
the level of the surface of a body of water
Type of:
spacing, spatial arrangement
the property possessed by an array of things that have space between them

n size of the gap between two places

“the distance from New York to Chicago”
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(nautical) the distance traveled by a sailing vessel on a single tack
arm's length
a distance sufficient to exclude intimacy
the distance between the rails of a railway or between the wheels of a train
light time
distance measured in terms of the speed of light (or radio waves)
skip distance
the shortest distance that permits radio signals (of a given frequency) to travel from the transmitter to the receiver by reflection from the ionosphere
wingspan, wingspread
linear distance between the extremities of an airfoil
distance between the tips of the wings (as of a bird or insect) when fully extended
the perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to the opposite vertex (or side if parallel)
broad gauge
a railroad track (or its width) broader than the standard 56.5 inches
narrow gauge
a railroad track (or its width) narrower than the standard 56.5 inches
standard gauge
railroad track having the standard width of 56.5 inches
Type of:
the physical magnitude of something (how big it is)

n a distant region

“I could see it in the distance
Type of:
part, region
the extended spatial location of something

n the interval between two times

“the distance from birth to death”
Type of:
interval, time interval
a definite length of time marked off by two instants

n a remote point in time

“if that happens it will be at some distance in the future”
“at a distance of ten years he had forgotten many of the details”
Type of:
point, point in time
an instant of time

n indifference by personal withdrawal

“emotional distance
Type of:
unbiased impartial unconcern

v go far ahead of

outdistance, outstrip
Type of:
leave behind
depart and not take along

v keep at a distance

“we have to distance ourselves from these events in order to continue living”
Type of:
hold, keep, maintain
keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"

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