1. far off or apart in space; not near at hand; remote or removed (often followed by from): a distant place; a town three miles distant from here.
  2. apart or far off in time: distant centuries past.
  3. remote or far apart in any respect: a distant relative.
  4. reserved or aloof; not familiar or cordial: a distant greeting.
  5. arriving from or going to a distance, as a communication, journey, etc.: I have here a distant letter from Japan.


  1. far away or apart in space or time
  2. (postpositive) separated in space or time by a specified distance
  3. apart in relevance, association, or relationshipa distant cousin
  4. coming from or going to a faraway placea distant journey
  5. remote in manner; aloof
  6. abstracted; absenta distant look

late 14c., from Old French distant (14c.), from Latin distantem (nominative distans), present participle of distare “to stand apart, be remote” (see distance (n.)). Related: Distantly.

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