nautical mile


Definition of nautical mile 

: any of various units of distance used for sea and air navigation based on the length of a minute of arc of a great circle of the earth and differing because the earth is not a perfect sphere: such as

a : a British unit equal to 6080 feet (1853.2 meters)

b : an international unit equal to exactly 1852 meters (6076.115 feet or 1.15 statute miles) used officially in the U.S. since July 1, 1954

Examples of nautical mile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Of the 3,435 nautical miles between Chicago and London, approximately 1,700 nautical miles are over the Atlantic. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: How long are flights over water crossing the Atlantic?," 24 June 2018 With foldable wings spanning 20 feet when deployed, the Rhaegal will be able to fly up to 1,000 nautical miles with a payload of about 800 pounds. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Startup plans to revolutionize the air cargo industry, starting with Alaska," 15 June 2018 This weapon, now actively being developed and tested by the Chinese military, can reportedly hit moving carriers at ranges up to 900 nautical miles. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Navy to explode bombs near new USS Ford carrier and finalize weapons," 14 May 2018 Under federal law, cruise ships may release untreated sewage at least 3 nautical miles from land, and at the time federal laws didn’t prohibit discharges into the sanctuary, which extends 50 miles into the Pacific. San Francisco Chronicle, "federal laws didn’t prohibit discharges into the sanctuary," 2 June 2018 Only two pieces remain big enough (at least 20 square nautical miles) to be tracked by the National Ice Center. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "The World's Largest Iceberg Is Melting Away," 10 June 2018 Before arriving in the Middle East, the vessel had been on an epic journey, though one not measured in nautical miles. David Segal, New York Times, "A Russian Oligarch’s $500 Million Yacht Is in the Middle of Britain’s Costliest Divorce," 6 June 2018 The jets unveiled Sunday offer at least 500 nautical miles of additional range, as well as a fuel-burn advantage of as much as 13 percent., "Ford may buy vacant Detroit train station," 27 May 2018 Coast Guard officials said air and boat crews searched more than 2,400 square nautical miles before suspending the search at 3:36 p.m. Friday. Laura Mcknight,, "Search suspended for 85-year-old missing boater: Coast Guard," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nautical mile.' 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 nautical mile

1830, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for nautical mile

The first known use of nautical mile was in 1830

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More Definitions for nautical mile

nautical mile


English Language Learners Definition of nautical mile

: a unit of distance equal to 1,852 meters or 1.15 miles that is used for sea and air travel

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