Also called statute mile. a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet, or 1760 yards (1.609 kilometers).
any of various other units of distance or length at different periods and in different countries. Compare Roman mile.
a notable distance or margin: missed the target by a mile. Abbreviation: mi, mi.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English mīl < Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mile (maɪl)
1.  Also called: statute mile a unit of length used in the UK, the US, and certain other countries, equal to 1760 yards. 1 mile is equivalent to 1.609 34 kilometres
2.  See nautical mile
3.  See Swedish mile
4.  any of various units of length used at different times and places, esp the Roman mile, equivalent to 1620 yards
5.  informal (often plural) a great distance; great deal: he missed by a mile
6.  a race extending over a mile
7.  miles (intensifier): he likes his new job miles better
[Old English mīl, from Latin mīlia (passuum) a thousand (paces)]

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

O.E. mil, from W.Gmc. *milja, from L. mila "thousands," pl. of mille "a thousand" (neuter plural was mistaken in Gmc. as fem. sing.). Ancient Roman mile was 1,000 double paces (one step with each foot), for about 4,860 feet, but there were many local variants and a modern statute mile is about 400 feet
longer. In Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, the L. word was applied arbitrarily to the ancient Germanic rasta, a measure of from 3.25 to 6 English miles. Mile-a-minute (adj.) is attested from 1957.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
mile   (mīl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A unit of length in the US Customary System, equal to 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards (about 1.61 kilometers). Also called statute mile.

  2. See nautical mile. See Table at measurement.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Mile definition

(from Lat. mille, "a thousand;" Matt. 5:41), a Roman measure of 1,000 paces of 5 feet each. Thus the Roman mile has 1618 yards, being 142 yards shorter than the English mile.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with mile, also see miss by a mile; miss is as good as a mile; stick out (like a mile).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
There isn't a grocery store within a six-mile radius of the college and the community in which the college resides.
They stopped going the extra mile to be personally engaged in campus life.
Sixty years ago, the athletic cognoscenti held that running a four-minute mile
  was physically impossible.
Biologists have found that it shelters more fish species per mile than any
  other river in the country.
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