Definition of mile in English:

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Pronunciation: /mʌɪl/


1 (also statute mile) A unit of linear measure equal to 1,760 yards (approximately 1.609 kilometres).
Example sentences
  • The earth is approximately 93 million miles / 150 million kilometers from the sun.
  • The same numbers apply if I measure distance in miles or centimeters or any other unit.
  • It seems to me like if it takes more kilometers to make a mile, then it should take more kilograms to make a pound.
1.1A race extending over a mile: he rode the fastest mile of his entire career in 1914
More example sentences
  • The three-year-old colt had won each of his five starts this year, all Group I races at a mile.
1.2 historical A Roman measure of 1,000 paces (approximately 1,620 yards).
Example sentences
  • Etched into the stone are the Roman numerals LIII, the distance in Roman miles to Carlisle.
2 (usually miles) informal A very long way or a very great amount: vistas which stretch for miles this is my favourite film by a mile
More example sentences
  • It's my favourite album of the year by miles and miles.
  • Apart from The West Wing, it's the best thing on television by miles and miles.
  • The guitar was the 20th century's most popular instrument by miles.


(as submodifier miles) informal
By a great amount or a long way: the second tape is miles better
More example sentences
  • He hasn't looked happy so far in the championship at centre half-back and was miles off the pace in the frenetic first twenty minutes.



be miles away

informal Be lost in thought and unaware of what is happening around one: I was thinking about something else - I was miles away
More example sentences
  • Part of your mind was focussing on the road, but you were miles away.
  • I could stare straight ahead but be miles away in seconds.

go the extra mile

Make a special effort to achieve something: state regulators will go the extra mile to ensure that this settlement is as investor-friendly as possible
More example sentences
  • Our ideal candidate will also be a determined achiever, that is, a person who goes the extra mile to achieve personal goals.
  • Providers need to be well trained and academically affiliated providers who can expend the time and effort to go the extra mile for their patients.
  • Professionalism for the rest of us means being willing to go the extra mile and work the extra hours.

a mile a minute

informal Very quickly: he talks a mile a minute
More example sentences
  • She reappeared just as quickly, talking a mile a minute.
  • And we've got to wonder, if you're able to talk a mile a minute on the ground, how do you calculate the speed of speech at cruising altitude?
  • Apparently, he pulled the ‘nicknames’ out of his head a mile a minute.

miles from anywhere

informal In a very isolated place: it can be lonely, living miles from anywhere
More example sentences
  • The fortuitous setting of the Bilderberg Jan Luyken means that it overcomes the usual annoying paradox of hotels in major cities: the ones close to everything are too noisy, and the ones quiet enough to permit sleep are miles from anywhere.
  • Hundreds and hundreds of miles from anywhere, the spot was the very ‘climax of desolation,’ as one of Stuart's fellow explorers once put it, and Stuart and his men had gone through hell to get there.
  • Nobody thought York was a possibility, because it's miles from anywhere.

the mile-high club

humorous Used in reference to having sex on an aircraft: she joined the mile-high club by making love on a flight between New York and LA
More example sentences
  • BA said there are one or two couples caught each year trying to join the mile-high club on its flights.
  • Uses the pick-up line, ‘So, are you a member of the mile-high club?’
  • After a trip to the mile-high club, Oliver and Emily begin an unlikely relationship that'll develop over their adult lives.

run a mile

informal Used with reference to a situation regarded as frightening or alarming: if someone proposed to me I’d probably run a mile
More example sentences
  • Football people - players, managers, chairmen - are so used to being asked soft questions that they would probably run a mile from a programme that demanded outright frankness from its guests.
  • I needed somebody to overpower, dominate and control me, which was what I knew and was comfortable with, and actually, if I had met a man who was supportive and gentle, I'd have probably run a mile.
  • If an asylum seeker is told they have to seek the permission of the Minister or seek legal advice, they will probably run a mile.

see (or tell or spot) something a mile off

informal Recognize something very easily: the baddies can be spotted a mile off
More example sentences
  • The ‘scary’ bits are so clichéd they can be seen a mile off.
  • You can spot them a mile off - crew cuts, their best going-to-court suit and a black rubbish bag full of their stuff.
  • Thing is, there are still a lot that don't know how to carry this off successfully and you're going to be able to spot them a mile off.

stand (or stick) out a mile

informal Be very obvious: his skill stood out a mile
More example sentences
  • For a team on a bit of roll like Aberdeen (three wins and a draw in their last four games) their odds stuck out a mile.
  • I stood out a mile, a huge, rustling, fluorescent yellow blob on the green landscape of life.
  • Like, you know, when someone on a soap opera goes undercover, they wear a hat and yet they're the only one wearing a hat so they stick out a mile.


Old English mīl, based on Latin mil(l)ia, plural of mille 'thousand' (the original Roman unit of distance was mille passus 'a thousand paces').

  • Where Roman legions marched they left roads, bridges, and other works of civil engineering. One thousand paces (or two thousand steps) marched by disciplined troops became a fixed and useful unit of measurement of distance—in Latin this was mille passus or mille passuum ‘one thousand paces’, later shortened to simple mille. The word entered most of the languages of Europe. When you urge someone to go the extra mile, ‘to make a special effort to achieve something’, you are echoing the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ‘And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain’ (two). See also inch, miss, million

Words that rhyme with mile

aisle, Argyle, awhile, beguile, bile, Carlisle, Carlyle, compile, De Stijl, ensile, file, guile, I'll, interfile, isle, Kabyle, kyle, lisle, Lyle, Mikhail, Nile, pile, rank-and-file, resile, rile, Ryle, Sieg Heil, smile, spile, stile, style, tile, vile, Weil, while, wile, worthwhile

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mile

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