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kilometer

[ki-lom-i-ter, kil-uh-mee‐] /kɪˈlɒm ɪ tər, ˈkɪl əˌmi‐/
noun
1.
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
1800-1810
1800-10; < French kilomètre. See kilo-, meter1
Related forms
kilometric
[kil-uh-me-trik] /ˌkɪl əˈmɛ trɪk/ (Show IPA),
kilometrical, adjective
Pronunciation note
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] /ˈkɪl əˌmi tər/ (Show IPA)
has been used since the early 1800's. A second pronunciation:
[ki-lom-i-ter] /kɪˈlɒm ɪ tər/
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for kilometers
  • Perhaps it is time to realise that fish that comes from thousands of kilometers away is a luxury item.
  • Reindeer grazing freely in search of reindeer lichen overnight can disperse across few kilometers.
  • So they moved down the road five kilometers and spent that winter with my father.
  • Links in the prototype network can span up to two kilometers.
  • Altostratus clouds cover the entire sky over an area that usually extends over hundreds of square kilometers.
  • The air blast flattened trees for hundreds of square kilometers.
  • The ground shook, witnesses felt the hellish heat from kilometers away, and the shock wave circled the world.
  • Inside are hundreds of square kilometers of vegetables and flowers.
Word Origin and History for kilometers

kilometer

n.

1810, from French kilomètre (1795); see kilo- + meter (n.2). Related: Kilometric.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kilometers in Science
kilometer
  (kĭ-lŏm'ĭ-tər, kĭl'ə-mē'tər)   
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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kilometers in Culture
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.
Cite This Source

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Word Value for kilometers

16
18
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