Kilo-meter

kilometer

[ki-lom-i-ter, kil-uh-mee‐]
noun
a unit of length, the common measure of distances equal to 1000 meters, and equivalent to 3280.8 feet or 0.621 mile. Abbreviation: km
Also, especially British, kilometre.


Origin:
1800–10; < French kilomètre. See kilo-, meter1

kilometric [kil-uh-me-trik] , kilometrical, adjective


The usual pronunciation for units of measurement starting with kilo-, as kilocalorie, kiloliter, and kilohertz, as well as for units of length ending in the base word meter, as centimeter, hectometer, and millimeter, gives primary stress to the first syllable and secondary to the third. It would seem logical for kilometer to follow this pattern, and in fact the pronunciation [kil-uh-mee-ter] has been used since the early 1800's. A second pronunciation: [ki-lom-i-ter] with stress on the second syllable only, was first recorded in America before 1830. Although often criticized on the basis of analogy, this pronunciation has persisted in American English, increasing in frequency, and has gained popularity in British English as well. It is reinforced by words for instruments (rather than units) of measurement ending in -meter, as thermometer, barometer, and speedometer, having stress on the -om syllable. Both pronunciations are used by educated speakers, including members of the scientific community.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
kilometer   (kĭ-lŏm'ĭ-tər, kĭl'ə-mē'tər)  Pronunciation Key 
A unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000 meters (0.62 mile). See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
kilometer [(ki-lom-uh-tuhr, kil-uh-mee-tuhr)]

In the metric system, one thousand meters, or about five-eighths of a mile.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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