noun \kə-ˈlä-mə-tər, ki-; ˈki-lə-ˌmē-tər\

: a unit of length equal to 1,000 meters

Full Definition of KILOMETER

:  a metric unit of length equal to 1000 meters

Usage Discussion of KILOMETER

In No. American speech kilometer is most often pronounced with primary stress on the second syllable. This pronunciation is also heard frequently in British speech. Those who object to second syllable stress say that the first syllable should be stressed in accord with the stress patterns of centimeter, millimeter, etc. However, the pronunciation of kilometer does not parallel that of other metric compounds. From 1828 to 1841 Noah Webster indicated only second syllable stress, and his successor added a first syllable stress variant in the first Merriam-Webster dictionary of 1847. Thus, both pronunciations are venerable. Most scientists use second syllable stress, although first syllable stress seems to occur with a higher rate of frequency among scientists than among nonscientists.


French kilomètre, from kilo- + mètre meter
First Known Use: 1810

Other Weights and Measures Terms

avoirdupois weight, calorie, denier, kip, pace, twain


noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of KILOMETER

: 1000 meters

Variants of KILOMETER

ki·lo·me·ter or chiefly British kilo·me·tre \ˈkil-ə-ˌmēt-ər, kə-ˈläm-ət-ər\


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