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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 cool, withdrawn.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
  • The task of deficit reduction will fall somewhere in the distant future.
  • They talked above the crack of distant rifle and machine-gun fire.
  • He'll discover that some of the static afflicting radio signals comes from distant stars.
  • The taxi disappeared around a distant corner in a cloud of its own dust.
  • Global aging is no longer a distant challenge looming over the horizon.
  • It seems that not many people on this forum know this little distant town.
  • The trees at the side of the road whiz by, whereas the mountains on the distant horizon hardly move.
  • The water arrived from a distant spring in wooden pipes on stone piers to the manor's cistern house.
  • But inflation is distant and containable, while deflation is at hand and pernicious.
  • Three new books reveal how much heroes and even distant acquaintances influence us.
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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