mile / mīl/ • n. (also statute mile) a unit of linear measure equal to 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards (approx. 1.609 kilometers). ∎ hist. (also Roman mile) a Roman measure of 1,000 paces (approx. 1,620 yards). ∎ (usu. miles) inf. a very long way or a very great amount: vistas that stretch for miles. ∎ a race extending over a mile. • adv. (miles) inf. by a great amount or a long way: the second tape is miles better. PHRASES: be miles away inf. be lost in thought and consequently unaware of what is happening around one. go the extra mile be especially assiduous in one's attempt to achieve something. a mile a minute inf. very quickly: he talks a mile a minute. miles from anywhere inf. in a very isolated place. see (or tell or spot) something a mile off inf. recognize something very easily: the first-year campers can be spotted a mile off. stand (or stick) out a mile inf. be very obvious or incongruous.
Recorded from Old English (in the form mīl) the word is based on Latin mil(l)ia, plural of mille ‘thousand’; the original Roman unit of distance was mille passus ‘a thousand paces’.
be miles away be lost in thought and unaware of what is happening around one.
the mile-high club used humorously in reference to having sex on an aircraft.
See also after dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile, go the extra mile, a miss is as good as a mile, Square Mile at square.