1. The space between two objects; the length of a line, especially the shortest line joining two points or things that are separate; measure of separation in place. "Every particle attracts every other with a force . . . Inversely proportioned to the square of the distance." (Sir I. Newton)
2. Remoteness of place; a remote place. "Easily managed from a distance." (W. Irving) "'T is distance lends enchantment to the view." (T. Campbell) "[He] waits at distance till he hears from Cato." (Addison)
In trotting matches under the rules of the American Association, the distance varies with the conditions of the race, being 80 yards in races of mile heaths, best two in three, and 150 yards in races of two-mile heats. at that distance from the winning post in placed the distance post. If any horse has not reached this distance post before the first horse in that heat has reached the winning post, such horse is distanced, and disqualified for cunning again during that race.
In a picture, the Middle distance is the central portion between the foreground and the distance or the extreme distance. In a perspective drawing, the Point of distance is the point where the visual rays meet.
8. Length or interval of time; period, past or future, between two eras or events. "Ten years' distance between one and the other." (Prior) "The writings of Euclid at the distance of two thousand years." (Playfair)
9. The remoteness or reserve which respect requires; hence, respect; ceremoniousness. "I hope your modesty Will know what distance to the crown is due." (Dryden) "'T is by respect and distance that authority is upheld." (Atterbury)
10. A withholding of intimacy; alienation; coldness; disagreement; variance; restraint; reserve. "Setting them [factions] at distance, or at least distrust amongst themselves." (Bacon) "On the part of Heaven, Now alienated, distance and distaste." (Milton)
<astronomy> North polar distance, the arc on the heavens from a heavenly body to the zenith of the observer. It is the complement of the altitude. To keep one's distance, to stand aloof; to refrain from familiarity. "If a man makes keep my distance, the comfort is he keeps his at the same time." (Swift)
Origin: F. Distance, L. Distantia.
(01 Mar 1998)
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