Definition: Mile

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English myle, mile, from Old English mīl, from Proto-West Germanic *mīliju, a borrowing of Latin mīlia, mīllia, plural of mīle, mīlle (“mile”) (literally ‘thousand’ but used as a short form of mīlle passūs (“a thousand paces”)).


mile (plural miles)

  1. # A unit of measure (length or distance). The international mile: a unit of length precisely equal to 1.609344 kilometers established by treaty among Anglophone nations in 1959, divided into 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards.
    Turn left in 1.2 miles.
  2. A unit of length derived from the 1593 English statute mile of 8 furlongs, equivalent to 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards of various precise values.
  3. A Roman unit of measure equal to 1000 (double) steps (mille passus or mille passuum) or 5000 Roman feet (approx. 1480m).
  4. A track race of one mile in length; sometimes used to refer to the 1500m race.
    The runners competed in the mile.
  5. A great distance.
    The shot missed by a mile.
  6. (informal) One mile per hour, as a measure of speed.
    five miles over the speed limit
  7. (travel) An airline mile in a frequent flyer program.

Derived terms

  • air mile
  • a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  • a miss is as good as a mile
  • mile marker
  • miles away
  • give them an inch and they'll take a mile
  • talk a mile a minute


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