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[mahyl] /maɪl/
Also called statute mile. a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet, or 1760 yards (1.609 kilometers).
any of various other units of distance or length at different periods and in different countries.
Compare Roman mile.
a notable distance or margin:
missed the target by a mile.
Abbreviation: mi, mi.
before 1000; Middle English; Old English mīl < Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mile
  • There isn't a grocery store within a six-mile radius of the college and the community in which the college resides.
  • They stopped going the extra mile to be personally engaged in campus life.
  • Sixty years ago, the athletic cognoscenti held that running a four-minute mile was physically impossible.
  • Biologists have found that it shelters more fish species per mile than any other river in the country.
  • The trick is to walk as slowly as one mile an hour, giving the body time to acclimate to the thin mountain air.
  • We had, among other lands, fifty acres of forest within a mile of the village.
  • Well, you see the atmosphere reaching up and up, mile upon mile.
  • The ground fought over had varied in width, but averaged three-quarters of a mile.
  • We could see them, half a mile off, making every effort to lighten her.
  • It would have been impossible to run them, and they stretched for nearly a mile.
British Dictionary definitions for mile


Also called statute mile. a unit of length used in the UK, the US, and certain other countries, equal to 1760 yards. 1 mile is equivalent to 1.609 34 kilometres
any of various units of length used at different times and places, esp the Roman mile, equivalent to 1620 yards
(often pl) (informal) a great distance; great deal: he missed by a mile
a race extending over a mile
miles, (intensifier): he likes his new job miles better
Word Origin
Old English mīl, from Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mile

Old English mil, from West Germanic *milja (cf. Middle Dutch mile, Dutch mijl, Old High German mila, German meile), from Latin mila "thousands," plural of mille "a thousand" (neuter plural was mistaken in Germanic as a fem. singular), of unknown origin.

The Latin word also is the source of French mille, Italian miglio, Spanish milla. The Scandinavian words (Old Norse mila, etc.) are from English. An ancient Roman mile was 1,000 double paces (one step with each foot), for about 4,860 feet, but there were many local variants and a modern statute mile is about 400 feet longer. In Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, the Latin word was applied arbitrarily to the ancient Germanic rasta, a measure of from 3.25 to 6 English miles. Mile-a-minute (adj.) "very fast" is attested from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mile in Science
  1. A unit of length in the US Customary System, equal to 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards (about 1.61 kilometers). Also called statute mile.

  2. See nautical mile. See Table at measurement.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for mile


Related Terms

go the extra mile, stick out

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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mile in the Bible

(from Lat. mille, "a thousand;" Matt. 5:41), a Roman measure of 1,000 paces of 5 feet each. Thus the Roman mile has 1618 yards, being 142 yards shorter than the English mile.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with mile


In addition to the idioms beginning with mile
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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