keep a distance


the extent or amount of space between two things, points, lines, etc.
the state or fact of being apart in space, as of one thing from another; remoteness.
a linear extent of space: Seven miles is a distance too great to walk in an hour.
an expanse; area: A vast distance of water surrounded the ship.
the interval between two points of time; an extent of time: His vacation period was a good distance away.
remoteness or difference in any respect: Our philosophies are a long distance apart.
an amount of progress: We've come a long distance on the project.
a distant point, place, or region.
the distant part of a field of view: a tree in the distance.
absence of warmth; reserve: Their first meeting in several years was hampered by a certain distance between them.
Music. interval ( def 6 ).
Horse Racing. (in a heat race) the space measured back from the winning post that a horse must reach by the time the winner passes the winning post or be eliminated from subsequent heats.
Mathematics. the greatest lower bound of differences between points, one from each of two given sets.
Obsolete. disagreement or dissension; a quarrel.
verb (used with object), distanced, distancing.
to leave behind at a distance, as at a race; surpass.
to place at a distance.
to cause to appear distant.
go the distance,
(in horse racing) to be able to run well in a long race.
Informal. to finish or complete something, especially something difficult, challenging, or requiring sustained effort.
keep at a distance, to treat coldly or in an unfriendly manner.
keep one's distance, to avoid becoming familiar or involved; remain cool or aloof.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin distantia, equivalent to distant- (see distant) + -ia -y3; replacing Middle English destaunce < Anglo-French

distanceless, adjective

10. remoteness, restraint, coolness, aloofness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
distance (ˈdɪstəns)
1.  the intervening space between two points or things
2.  the length of this gap
3.  the state of being apart in space; remoteness
4.  an interval between two points in time
5.  the extent of progress; advance
6.  a distant place or time: he lives at a distance from his work
7.  a separation or remoteness in relationship; disparity
8.  geometry
 a.  the length of the shortest line segment joining two points
 b.  the length along a straight line or curve
9.  the distance the most distant or a faraway part of the visible scene or landscape
10.  horse racing
 a.  (Brit) a point on a racecourse 240 yards from the winning post
 b.  (Brit) any interval of more than 20 lengths between any two finishers in a race
 c.  (US) the part of a racecourse that a horse must reach in any heat before the winner passes the finishing line in order to qualify for later heats
11.  go the distance
 a.  boxing to complete a bout without being knocked out
 b.  to be able to complete an assigned task or responsibility
12.  keep one's distance to maintain a proper or discreet reserve in respect of another person
13.  the distant parts of a picture, such as a landscape
14.  middle distance
 a.  (in a picture) halfway between the foreground and the horizon
 b.  (in a natural situation) halfway between the observer and the horizon
15.  (modifier) athletics relating to or denoting the longer races, usually those longer than a mile: a distance runner
16.  to hold or place at a distance
17.  to separate (oneself) mentally or emotionally from something
18.  to outdo; outstrip

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from O.Fr. destance, from L. distantia "a standing apart," from distantem (nom. distans) "standing apart, separate, distant," prp. of distare "stand apart," from dis- "apart, off" + stare "to stand" (see stet). The figurative sense is the same as in stand-offish.
Phrase go the distance (1930s) seems to be originally from boxing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

distance dis·tance (dĭs'təns)
The extent of space between two objects or places; an intervening space.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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