Mile

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Mile
Milestone, Knightsbridge, London - geograph.org.uk - 1590514.jpg
The distance between Westminster and London is 1 mile
General information
Unit systemEnglish unit
Unit oflength
Symbolmi or m 
Conversions
1 mi in ...... is equal to ...
   SI units   1609.344 m
   imperial/US units   
   nautical units   0.86898 nmi

A mile is a unit of length. There are many different kinds of mile but mile on its own usually means the statute mile.

Statute mile[change | change source]

In the US and the UK the word mile usually means the statute mile.

Feet Yard Chain Furlong Mile Kilometres
5,280 1,760 80 8 1 1.609344

Nautical mile[change | change source]

The nautical mile is used for sea or air travel.

The nautical mile was originally defined as one minute of arc along a line of longitude of the Earth. There are 60 minutes of arc in one degree or arc (60' = 1°). So there were 10,800 nautical miles from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Now the nautical mile is defined as 1,852 metres.

1 nautical mile = 1,852 metres (by definition)
≈ 6,076 feet
≈ 1.151 statute miles

The speed of a ship that travels one nautical mile in one hour is called one knot

Roman mile[change | change source]

The mile was first used by the Romans. It comes from the Latin phrase mille passus (plural: milia passuum). This means "one thousand paces". A pace is the distance each foot moves when taking one step.

1 Roman mile = 1,000 Roman paces (by definition)
≈ 1,479 metres
≈ 4,852 feet

Other miles[change | change source]

Different miles have been used throughout history in various parts of the world. In Norway and Sweden, for example, a mil is a unit of length which is equal to 10 kilometres.

Idioms[change | change source]

Even in English-speaking countries that use the metric system (for example, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), the mile is still used in many idioms. These include:

  • A country mile is used colloquially to mean a very long distance.
  • "A miss is as good as a mile" (failure by a narrow margin is no better than any other failure)
  • "Give him an inch and he'll take a mile" – a corruption of "Give him an inch and he'll take an ell"[1][2] (the person in question will become greedy if shown generosity)
  • "Missed by a mile" (missed by a wide margin)
  • "Go a mile a minute" (move very fast)
  • "Talk a mile a minute" (speak very fast)
  • "To go the extra mile" (to put in extra effort)
  • "Miles away" (lost in thought, or daydreaming)
  • "Milestone" (an event showing a lot of progress)

References[change | change source]

  1. Concise Oxford English Dictionary (5th edition; 1964). Oxford University Press.
  2. John Heywood (1562). The proverbs, epigrams, and miscellanies of John Heywood ... Print. for subscribers, by the Early English Drama Society. pp. 95–. Retrieved 1 December 2011.