1 amount of space between two points
ADJ. appreciable, considerable, enormous, fair, good, great, huge, large, long, vast The town is a considerable distance from the coast. It's quite a good distance to the nearest village. The people travel vast distances to find food. | short, small | reasonable | certain, given | average, mean the average distance covered during pursuits by cheetahs | equal | maximum, minimum | optimum | correct, right | exact | full | extra | fixed | finite, infinite | careful, comfortable, convenient, discreet, respectful, safe The cat sat and watched us from a safe distance. | braking, stopping Allow for greater braking distances when pulling a loaded trailer. | geographical, physical These immigrants face problems of geographical distance and cultural isolation.
VERB + DISTANCE cover, fly, go, travel, walk The young birds were soon flying distances of 200 feet or more.
(figurative) Nobody thought he would last 15 rounds but he went the full distance. | keep I kept a comfortable distance behind the van. | determine, measure | gauge, judge It is very difficult to judge distances in the desert.
DISTANCE + NOUN runner, running a long-distance runner
PREP. at a ~ (from/of) When launching a kick it is essential to be at the correct distance from your opponent. The town is situated at a distance of twenty miles from Oxford. She followed them at a discreet distance. | from a ~ (of) Visitors can only view the painting from a distance of three metres. | over a ~ (of) The sound can be heard over a distance of more than five miles. | within a ~ children living within a certain distance of the school | ~ away from The house is a short distance away from the bus station. | ~ between What's the distance between London and Edinburgh? | ~ from, ~ to the distance from our house to the school
PHRASES a … distance ahead, away, apart, etc. A bomb exploded some distance away. | within commuting/driving/strolling/travelling/wal distance The shops are within walking distance. | within hailing/shouting/sniffing/spitting/striking/ distance The cat was now within striking distance of the duck.
(figurative) We came within spitting distance of winning the cup.
2 point a long way away/being far away
ADJ. far, middle I could just see the hills in the far distance. | blue (literary) The moors stretched away into the blue distance (= the sky).
DISTANCE + NOUN learning The Open University offers a wide range of distance learning programmes. | vision to have good distance vision
PREP. at a ~ At a distance it is difficult to make out the detail on the building. | from a ~ We admired the palace from a distance. | in the ~ In the distance was a small village.
3 not being too closely involved
ADJ. critical, professional | emotional, psychological, social
VERB + DISTANCE keep, maintain She was warned to keep her distance from Charles if she didn't want to get hurt. Sociologists must maintain critical distance from the ideas of society at any particular time.
PREP. ~ from He felt a sense of distance from the others.
PHRASES a sense of distance