kilometer

noun
ki·​lo·​me·​ter | \kə-ˈlä-mə-tər, ki-;ˈki-lə-ˌmē-tər \

Definition of kilometer 

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

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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

Currently, the DelFly can fly around for more than five minutes on a full battery with a range of more than 1 kilometer (0.62 miles). Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "The DelFly Nimble robot can fly like a real insect," 14 Sep. 2018 The most recent Ice Swimming World Championships, held last year in Burghausen, Germany, drew 120 participants who swam 1 kilometer (about 0.62 miles) in 36.5 degrees F water—without the warmth of wetsuits. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All About Ice Swimming, the Extreme Sport Where Athletes Compete in Sub-Freezing Water," 23 Aug. 2018 This winding one-kilometer-long fissure is striking with overhanging cliffs soaring 300 feet above your head. Jim Berkeley, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Jordan," 5 Oct. 2016 For safety’s sake, there are just two official race distances: 1 kilometer and 1 mile. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All About Ice Swimming, the Extreme Sport Where Athletes Compete in Sub-Freezing Water," 23 Aug. 2018 Quadrant holds more than 52,000 square kilometers (20,077 square miles) of natural-gas and oil acreage, mainly in the Carnarvon Basin offshore of Western Australia state. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Santos to Buy Brookfield-Backed Quadrant for $2.15 Billion," 22 Aug. 2018 Previously, in wide field mode, GALACSI and MUSE were used to correct for atmospheric interference up to one kilometer above the telescope. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "New Technology Allows Ground Telescope to Take Sharper Images Than Hubble," 18 July 2018 Stretching for almost one kilometer, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world's longest unbroken piece of art. Antonia Neubauer, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Asia," 5 Oct. 2016 Completed in 2010, the IceCube neutrino detector snares these elusive particles in a cubic kilometer of Antarctic ice. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Ghostly particle caught in polar ice ushers in new way to look at the universe," 12 July 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.

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First Known Use of kilometer

1810, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kilometer

French kilomètre, from kilo- + mètre meter

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Statistics for kilometer

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kilometer

The first known use of kilometer was in 1810

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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, 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, kə-​ˈläm-​ət-​ər \

Medical Definition of kilometer 

: 1000 meters

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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

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