mile


mile
/muyl/, n.
1. Also called statute mile. a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet, or 1760 yards (1.609 kilometers).
4. any of various other units of distance or length at different periods and in different countries. Cf. Roman mile.
5. a notable distance or margin: missed the target by a mile. Abbr.: mi, mi.
[bef. 1000; ME; OE mil < L milia (passuum) a thousand (paces)]

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I
Any of various units of distance, including the statute mile of 5,280 ft (1.61 km).

It originated from the Roman mille passus, or "thousand paces," which measured 5,000 Roman ft (4,840 English ft [1,475 km]). A nautical mile is the length on the Earth's surface of one minute of arc or, by international definition, 1,852 m (6,076.12 ft [1.1508 statute mi]); it remains in universal use in both marine and air transportation. A knot is one nautical mile per hour. See also International System of Units; metric system.
II
(as used in expressions)
Coverdale Miles
Davis Miles Dewey

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▪ unit of measurement
      any of various units of distance, such as the statute mile of 5,280 feet (1.609 km). It originated from the Roman mille passus, or “thousand paces,” which measured 5,000 Roman feet.

      About the year 1500 the “old London” mile was defined as eight furlongs (furlong). At that time the furlong, measured by a larger northern (German) foot, was 625 feet, and thus the mile equaled 5,000 feet. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Elizabeth I), the mile gained an additional 280 feet—to 5,280—under a statute of 1593 that confirmed the use of a shorter foot that made the length of the furlong 660 feet.

      Elsewhere in the British Isles, longer miles were used, including the Irish mile of 6,720 feet (2.048 km) and the Scottish mile of 5,952 English feet (1.814 km).

      A nautical mile was originally defined as the length on the Earth's surface of one minute (1/60 of a degree) of arc along a meridian (north-south line of longitude). Because of a slight flattening of the Earth in polar latitudes, however, the measurement of a nautical mile increases slightly toward the poles. For many years the British nautical mile, or admiralty mile, was set at 6,080 feet (1.85318 km), while the U.S. nautical mile was set at 6,080.20 feet (1.85324 km). In 1929 the nautical mile was redefined as exactly 1.852 km (about 6,076.11549 feet or 1.1508 statute miles) at an international conference held in Monaco, although the United States did not change over to the new international nautical mile until 1954. The measure remains in universal use in both marine and air transportation. The knot is one nautical mile per hour.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mile — mile …   Dictionnaire des rimes

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  • mile — [ majl ] n. m. • 1866 (le mot était francisé en mille); mot angl.; lat. milia ♦ Mesure anglo saxonne de longueur utilisée en Grande Bretagne, aux États Unis et au Canada, valant 5 280 pieds soit 1 609 mètres. ⇒ 2. mille. Sport Le record du monde… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • mile — [maɪl] written abbreviation m noun [countable] also geographical mile a unit for measuring distance or length, equal to 5,280 feet or 1,609 metres ˌnautical ˈmile also ˈsea mile a unit for measuring dista …   Financial and business terms

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  • mile — ► NOUN 1) (also statute mile) a unit of linear measure equal to 1,760 yards (approximately 1.609 kilometres). 2) (miles) informal a very long way. ► ADVERB (miles) informal ▪ by a great amount or a long way. ● …   English terms dictionary

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