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[dis-tuh nt] /ˈdɪs tənt/
far off or apart in space; not near at hand; remote or removed (often followed by from):
a distant place; a town three miles distant from here.
apart or far off in time:
distant centuries past.
remote or far apart in any respect:
a distant relative.
reserved or aloof; not familiar or cordial:
a distant greeting.
arriving from or going to a distance, as a communication, journey, etc.:
I have here a distant letter from Japan.
Origin of distant
1350-1400; Middle English dista(u)nt (< Anglo-French) < Latin distant- (stem of distāns, present participle of distāre to stand apart), equivalent to di- di-2 + stā- stand + -nt- present participle suffix
Related forms
distantly, adverb
distantness, noun
overdistant, adjective
overdistantly, adverb
quasi-distant, adjective
quasi-distantly, adverb
ultradistant, adjective
undistant, adjective
undistantly, adverb
4. cool, withdrawn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for distant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hermione blushed, and looked away towards the distant woods.

    Paul Patoff F. Marion Crawford
  • He was leaving the pilot-house, when the distant report of a gun came to our ears.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • It was followed in a few seconds by the low boom of a distant gun.

    The Lifeboat R.M. Ballantyne
  • On a distant mountain-side he heard the howl of a lonely wolf.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • I am distant from you, but I embrace you all—the dear ones of my blood.

    Diplomatic Days Edith O'Shaughnessy
British Dictionary definitions for distant


far away or apart in space or time
(postpositive) separated in space or time by a specified distance
apart in relevance, association, or relationship: a distant cousin
coming from or going to a faraway place: a distant journey
remote in manner; aloof
abstracted; absent: a distant look
Derived Forms
distantly, adverb
distantness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin distāre to be distant, from dis-1 + stāre to stand
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 distant

late 14c., from Old French distant (14c.), from Latin distantem (nominative distans), present participle of distare "to stand apart, be remote" (see distance (n.)). Related: Distantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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