Definition of kilometer
: a metric unit of length equal to 1000 meters — see metric system table
How do you pronounce kilometer?
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.
Recent Examples of kilometer from the Web
Now in its sixth edition, this annual public art pop-up (July 1 through August 27) invests in new ideas throughout the urban landscape during the summer months, spanning 35 installations within a two-kilometer range.
Intermediate-range missiles are capable of flying 3,000 to 5,500 kilometers (1,860-3,400 miles).
The nude bodies of 31-year-old Rita Tangredi and 20-year-old Colleen McNamee were found 9 miles (14 kilometers) apart in late 1993 and early 1994.
In 1998 NASA created the Near Earth Object Program Office, now the Center for Near Earth Object Studies, to find the 90 percent of so-called near Earth objects larger than one kilometer in diameter.
True story: A little boy from India gets separated by thousands of kilometers from his family, escapes street life, and is adopted by Australian parents.
The accident happened on the Sky Ride at Six Flags Great Escape Amusement Park, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of Albany, New York.
Mercedes-Benz Vans broke ground last July on a $500 million assembly plant to build Sprinter vans in Ladson, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Charleston.
New Chums Beach in New Zealand Hidden in Wainuiototo Bay on the northeast coast of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, New Chums Beach is a nearly-kilometer-long stretch of golden-white sand, native forest, and no buildings or infrastructure.
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.
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.
Origin and Etymology of kilometer
French kilomètre, from kilo- + mètre meter
First Known Use: 1810See Words from the same year
KILOMETER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of kilometer for English Language Learners
: a unit of length equal to 1,000 meters
KILOMETER Defined for Kids
Definition of kilometer for Students
: a metric unit of length equal to 1000 meters
Seen and Heard
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