1. The extent of space between two objects or places; an intervening space.
2. The fact or condition of being apart in space; remoteness.
3. Mathematics The length or numerical value of a straight line or curve.
a. The extent of space between points on a measured course.
b. The length of a race, especially of a horserace.
a. A point or area that is far away: "Telephone poles stretched way into a distance I couldn't quite see" (Leigh Allison Wilson).
b. A depiction of a such a point or area.
6. A stretch of space without designation of limit; an expanse: a land of few hills and great distances.
7. The extent of time between two events; an intervening period.
8. A point removed in time: At a distance of 11 years, his memory of the crime was blurry.
9. The full period or length of a contest or game: The challenger had never attempted the distance of 12 rounds.
10. An amount of progress: The curriculum committee is a distance from where it was last month.
11. Difference or disagreement: The candidates could not be at a greater distance on this issue.
12. Emotional separateness or reserve; aloofness.
tr.v. dis·tanced, dis·tanc·ing, dis·tanc·es
1. To place or keep at or as if at a distance: "monks who had distanced themselves from the official ecclesiastical hierarchy by resurrecting the ascetic traditions of the early Church Fathers" (Rosamund Bartlett).
2. To cause to appear at a distance.
3. To leave far behind; outrun.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.