Definition of distance noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈdɪstəns//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdɪstəns//
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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 kilometres What’s the distance between New York City and Boston/from New York City to Boston? In the US, 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 keen to put some distance between itself and these events (= show that there is no connection between them). (British English) Eddie is, by some distance (= by a great amount), the funniest character in the show.
  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. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘discord, debate’): from Old French or from Latin distantia, from distant- ‘standing apart’, from the verb distare, from dis- ‘apart’ + stare ‘stand’.Extra examples Allow for greater braking distances when pulling a loaded trailer. At a distance it is difficult to make out the detail on the building. He felt a sense of distance from the others. He moved a short distance up the valley. He was gradually closing the distance between himself and the other runners. I could just see the hills in the far distance. I kept a comfortable distance behind the van. In the distance was a small town. It is very difficult to judge distances in the desert. It’s quite a good distance to the nearest town. Nobody thought he would last 15 rounds but he went the full distance. She followed them at a discreet distance. She sprinted the entire distance. Sociologists must maintain critical distance from the ideas of society at any particular time. The Open University offers a wide range of distance learning programmes. The arch spans a distance of 285 feet. The bars are within walking distance. The cat sat and watched us from a safe distance. The cat was now within striking distance of the duck. The house is a short distance away from the bus station. The leaders in the race were a considerable distance ahead. The moors stretched away into the blue distance. The people travel vast distances to find food. The road stretches off into the distance. The sound can be heard over a distance of more than five miles. The spacecraft has the ability to traverse great distances. The town is a considerable distance from the coast. The town is situated at a distance of twenty miles from Oxford. The young birds were soon flying distances of 200 feet or more. These immigrants face problems of geographical distance and cultural isolation. These immigrants face problems of physical distance. Visitors can only view the painting from a distance of three metres. We admired the palace from a distance. We came within spitting distance of winning the cup. What’s the distance between London and Edinburgh? When launching a kick it is essential to be at the correct distance from your opponent. a champion distance swimmer a long-distance runner children living within a certain distance of the school the average distance covered during pursuits by cheetahs the distance from our house to the school to have good distance vision He worried about the increasing distance between his children and himself.Idioms from a place or time that is not near; from far away She had loved him at a distance for years. 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.  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 somebody; to not let somebody be friendly towards 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 somebody/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 (especially North American English) (British English also within spitting distance (of something))
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    (informal) very close
    within spitting distance (of something) (British English) (also within shouting distance North American English, British English)
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    (informal) very close We live within spitting distance of the bus 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 American Dictionary entry: distance