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b : the degree or amount of separation between two points, lines, surfaces, or objects
c (1) : an extent of area or an advance along a route measured linearly (2) : an extent of space measured other than linearly <within walking distance> d : an extent of advance from a beginning
e : expanse
f (1) : length of a race or contest <won at all distances> (2) : the full length (as of a prizefight or ball game) (3) : a long race <distance training>
  • 3 : the quality or state of being distant: as a : spatial remoteness
b : personal and especially emotional separation; also : reserve, coldness
c : difference, disparity
  • 4 : a distant point or region
  • 5 a : aesthetic distance
b : capacity to observe dispassionately

— go the distance also last the distance : to complete a course of action


Distance is a numerical description of how far apart objects are. In physics or everyday discussion, distance may refer to a physical length, or an estimation based on other criteria (e.g. "two counties over"). In mathematics, a distance function or metric is a generalization of the concept of physical distance. A metric is a function that behaves according to a specific set of rules, and provides a concrete way of describing what it means for elements of some space to be "close to" or "far away from" each other.

Distance cannot be negative. Distance is a scalar quantity, containing only a magnitude, whereas a displacement vector is a vector quantity characterized by both magnitude and direction.