kilometer

noun
ki·​lo·​me·​ter | \ kə-ˈlä-mə-tər How to pronounce kilometer (audio) , ki-; ˈki-lə-ˌmē-tər How to pronounce kilometer (audio) \

Definition of kilometer

: a metric unit of length equal to 1000 meters — see Metric System Table

Keep scrolling for more

How do you pronounce kilometer?: Usage Guide

In North 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.

Did You Know?

A kilometer is equal to about 62/100 of a mile, and a mile is equal to about 1.61 kilometers. The U.S. has been slow to adopt metric measures, which are used almost everywhere else in the world. Though our car speedometers are often marked in both miles and kilometers, the U.S. and Great Britain are practically the only developed nations that still show miles rather than kilometers on their road signs. But even in the U.S., footraces are usually measured in meters or kilometers, like the Olympic races. Runners normally abbreviate kilometer to K: "a 5K race" (3.1 miles), "the 10K run" (6.2 miles), and so on.

Examples of kilometer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

President Barack Obama’s Interior Department improperly canceled the nearly 10-square-mile (26-square-kilometer) lease adjacent to Glacier National Park in 2016, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., said this week. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "Judge restores energy lease on Montana land sacred to tribes," 25 Sep. 2018 Which is, say, the Karman line at 100 kilometers, which is an arbitrary point at which the atmosphere is fairly thin. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk: The Popular Mechanics Interview," 25 Feb. 2019 In late November and December that figure had been estimated at between 400 and 600 square kilometers, according to officials briefed on the matter. Matthew Lee, The Seattle Times, "US commander: IS hold in Syria, Iraq on verge of collapse," 5 Feb. 2019 That's significant, says Bruce Howe, a physical oceanographer at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, who leads a task force exploring how to stud new ocean cables with seismic, pressure, and temperature sensors, every 50 to 100 kilometers. Eric Hand, Science | AAAS, "Seafloor cables that carry the world’s internet traffic can also detect earthquakes," 14 June 2018 Nisenbaum said the company has already amassed more than 10 million kilometers (6 million miles) of road data. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This startup helps self-driving cars literally feel the road," 11 Sep. 2018 According to Barkai, 272 people have completed the ice mile (as verified through IISA), and more than 500 have completed the kilometer. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All About Ice Swimming, the Extreme Sport Where Athletes Compete in Sub-Freezing Water," 23 Aug. 2018 Seoul, a capital city with 10 million people, is about 40-50 kilometers (25-30 miles) from the border. Hyung-jin Kim, chicagotribune.com, "Koreas discuss removing North's artillery from tense border," 25 June 2018 The animals didn’t respond to many of the killer whale sounds, but a subset of the calls provoked a strong reaction in both species: Risso’s dolphins rapidly fled, ending up more than 10 kilometers away from where the sounds were played. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "This is the sound a dolphin might hear if it’s about to become dinner," 12 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of kilometer

1810, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kilometer

French kilomètre, from kilo- + mètre meter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kilometer

Share kilometer

Statistics for kilometer

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kilometer

The first known use of kilometer was in 1810

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kilometer

kilometer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of kilometer

: a unit of length equal to 1,000 meters

kilometer

noun
ki·​lo·​me·​ter | \ ki-ˈlä-mə-tər How to pronounce kilometer (audio) , ˈki-lə-ˌmē-tər\

Kids Definition of kilometer

: a metric unit of length equal to 1000 meters

kilometer

noun
ki·​lo·​me·​ter
variants: or chiefly British kilometre \ ˈkil-​ə-​ˌmēt-​ər How to pronounce kilometre (audio) , kə-​ˈläm-​ət-​ər How to pronounce kilometre (audio) \

Medical Definition of kilometer

: 1000 meters

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on kilometer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kilometer

Spanish Central: Translation of kilometer

Nglish: Translation of kilometer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kilometer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kilometer

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!