A mile is a unit of length, most commonly 5,280 feet (1,760 yards, or about 1,609 meters). The mile of 5,280 feet is sometimes called the statute mile or land mile to distinguish it from the nautical mile (1,852 metres, about 6,076.1 feet). There have also been many historical miles and similar units in other systems that may be translated into English as miles; they have varied in length from 1 to 15 kilometres.
The exact length of the land mile varied slightly among English-speaking countries until the international yard and pound agreement in 1959 established the yard as exactly 0.9144 metres, giving a mile of exactly 1,609.344 metres. The United States adopted this international mile for most purposes, but retained the pre-1959 mile for some land-survey data, terming it the US survey mile. In the US, statute mile formally refers to the survey mile, about 3.219 mm (⅛ inch) longer than the international mile (the international mile is exactly 0.0002% less than the US survey mile).
Use of the mile as a unit of measurement is now largely confined to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
Read more about Mile: Etymology, Roman Mile, Historical Miles in The Arabic World and Europe, Historical Miles in Britain and Ireland, Statute Mile, Metric Mile, Nautical Mile, Abbreviation and Symbol, Grid System, Idioms
Famous quotes containing the word mile:
“It was a tangled and perplexing thicket, through which we stumbled and threaded our way, and when we had finished a mile of it, our starting-point seemed far away. We were glad that we had not got to walk to Bangor along the banks of this river, which would be a journey of more than a hundred miles. Think of the denseness of the forest, the fallen trees and rocks, the windings of the river, the streams emptying in, and the frequent swamps to be crossed. It made you shudder.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“For now the moon with friendless light carouses
On hill and housetop, street and marketplace,
Men will plunge, mile after mile of men,
To crush this lucent madness of the face....”
—Allen Tate (18991979)
As you find a rhythm
Working you, slow mile by mile,
Into your proper haunt
Somewhere, well out, beyond . . .”
—Seamus Heaney (b. 1939)