dis·​tant | \ ˈdi-stənt How to pronounce distant (audio) \

Definition of distant

1a : separated in space : away a mile distant
b : situated at a great distance (see distance entry 1 sense 2a) : far-off a distant galaxy
c : having a great amount of separation between each other : separated by a great distance from each other : far apart visiting distant places distant campuses
d : far behind finished a distant third
2 : separated in a relationship other than spatial a distant cousin the distant past
3 : different in kind from two very distant backgrounds
4 : reserved or aloof in personal relationship : cold was distant and distracted
5a : going a long distance distant voyages
b : concerned with remote (see remote entry 1 sense 2) things distant thoughts

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Other Words from distant

distantly adverb
distantness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for distant


away, deep, far, faraway, far-flung, far-off, remote, removed


close, near, nearby, nigh

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Examples of distant in a Sentence

In the distant past, dinosaurs roamed the earth. The day I left home is now a distant memory.

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s also the possibility of both California U.S. Senate seats opening up in the not-too-distant future. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why Faulconer laid low on San Diego’s gun storage law," 13 Sep. 2019 In the not-so-distant past, a Cubs team competing for a postseason appearance would create a frenzy during the final homestand. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Theo Epstein changed the culture of the Cubs. And in the process, cursed them.," 12 Sep. 2019 Denver hasn’t measured snowfall since the year 2000, despite the fact that September has produced some major, notable snows in the not-too-distant past. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Whatever happened to September snowfall in Denver?," 8 Sep. 2019 There will be ceremonies, there will be tributes and on the last day of the season, there will be a tearful, heartfelt farewell for a manager who will enjoy a day in Cooperstown in the not-so-distant future. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "September baseball will provide preview of Giants’ future beyond Bochy," 31 Aug. 2019 Now, scientists have found that back-to-back bad snow years are likely to become much more frequent in the not-too-distant future, according to work published in August in Geophysical Research Letters. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "'Snow droughts' are coming for the American West," 14 Aug. 2019 The trip home from an impossibly distant dream was supposed to take just three days. Norah O'donnell, CBS News, ""Man on the Moon:" The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing," 16 July 2019 In the not-so-distant future, cities in the northern hemisphere will have climates more like cities 620 miles to their south today, the study's senior author, Tom Crowther, told National Geographic. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Phoenix could feel more like Baghdad by 2050, a new climate study says," 11 July 2019 But in the United States alone, rising seas are already causing chronic and acute flooding, and ocean floodwaters will likely claim some coastal communities in the not-too distant future. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Why We’re Challenging the 2020 Democrats to a Climate Summit," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of distant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for distant

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin distant-, distans, present participle of distare to stand apart, be distant, from dis- + stare to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for distant

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distant

The first known use of distant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for distant



English Language Learners Definition of distant

: existing or happening far away in space : separated by space
: far away in time : happening far in the past or far into the future
: having to do with something that is not related to what is happening where you are or at the present time


dis·​tant | \ ˈdi-stənt How to pronounce distant (audio) \

Kids Definition of distant

1 : existing or happening at a place far away a distant planet distant thunder
2 : far away in time the distant future
3 : not closely related distant cousins
4 : cold entry 1 sense 5, unfriendly a distant manner

Other Words from distant

distantly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on distant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for distant

Spanish Central: Translation of distant

Nglish: Translation of distant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on distant

What made you want to look up distant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread over or through

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