American English

Definition of distance noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] the amount of space between two places or things a short/long distance the distance of the earth from the sun a distance of 200 miles What's the distance between New York City and Boston/from New York City to Boston? In the U.S., distance is measured in miles. The beach is within walking distance of my house (= you can walk there easily). Paul has to drive very long distances as part of his job. Our parents live some distance away (= quite far away). see also long-distance, middle distance, outdistance
  2. 2[uncountable] being far away in space or in time Distance is no problem on the Internet.
  3. 3[singular] a point that is a particular amount of space away from something else You'll never get the ball in from that distance.
  4. 4[countable, usually singular, uncountable] a difference or lack of a connection between two things The distance between fashion and art remains as great as ever. The government is eager to put some distance between itself and these events (= show that there is no connection between them).
  5. 5[uncountable, countable] a situation in which there is a lack of friendly feelings or of a close relationship between two people or groups of people There was a growing distance between the two sides of the family. The coldness and distance in her voice took me by surprise.
  6. Idioms
    at/from a distance
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    from a place or time that is not near; from far away She had loved him at a distance for years.
    go the (full) distance
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    to continue playing in a competition or sports contest until the end Nobody thought he would last 15 rounds, but he went the full distance.
    in/into the distance
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    far away but still able to be seen or heard We saw lights in the distance. Alice stood staring into the distance. Five miles of sand stretched away into the distance.
    keep somebody at a distance
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    to refuse to be friendly with someone; to not let someone be friendly toward you The manager prefers to keep employees at a distance.
      keep your distance (from somebody/something)
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    1. 1to make sure you are not too near someone or something
    2. 2to avoid getting too friendly or involved with a person, group, etc. She was warned to keep her distance from Charles if she didn't want to get hurt.
    within shouting distance (of something) (informal)
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    very close We live within shouting distance of the station.
    within striking distance (of something)
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    near enough to be reached or attacked easily; near enough to reach or attack something easily The beach is within striking distance. The cat was now within striking distance of the duck.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: distance