Kilometer | Definition, Etymology, Synonyms & Antonyms

Kilometer

Kilometer (noun)

Definition

A kilometer (abbreviation: km) is a unit of length in the metric system, used to measure distances. One kilometer is equivalent to 1,000 meters or approximately 0.621 miles.

Etymology

The term "kilometer" has its origins in the French language. It is derived from two French words: "kilomètre," where "kilo" means a thousand, and "mètre" is the French word for meter. The metric system, including the use of kilometers as a unit of length.

Synonyms

  • Kilometre (British English)
  • Klick (slang, primarily used in military contexts)
  • 1000 meters

Antonyms

  • Mile (Imperial unit of length)
  • Feet or Yards (Imperial and US Customary units of length)

Example

One unique example of the use of kilometers is in long-distance running races, such as marathons. Marathon races are typically 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles) long, and the distance is considered a significant challenge for runners seeking to test their endurance.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you convert kilometers to miles and vice versa?

To convert kilometers to miles, you can use the conversion factor of 1 kilometer = 0.621 miles. To convert miles to kilometers, you can use the conversion factor of 1 mile = 1.609 kilometers.

What is the significance of a "kilometer stone" or "milestone"?

In various cultures, a "kilometer stone" or "milestone" refers to a physical marker placed along a road or highway at regular intervals, indicating the distance traveled. It helps travelers gauge their progress and identify specific locations on their journey.

What is the origin of the term "click" as slang for a kilometer?

The slang term "click" for a kilometer is believed to have originated in the military, particularly during the Vietnam War. Soldiers used "click" as a shortened form of "kilometer" to simplify communication and express distances quickly and efficiently.

Why is the metric system, including kilometers, used globally?

The metric system, introduced during the French Revolution, is widely used globally because of its ease of use, simplicity, and consistency. Its decimal-based measurements and standardized units make conversions between different units straightforward, making it ideal for scientific, industrial, and international applications.

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