a. Separate or apart in space.
b. Far removed; remote: distant lands.
2. Coming from or going to a distance: a distant sound; a distant telephone call.
3. Far removed or apart in time: the distant past; distant events.
4. Far apart in relationship: a distant cousin.
5. Minimally similar: a distant likeness.
6. Far removed mentally: distant thoughts.
7. Aloof or chilly: a distant smile.
[Middle English distaunt, from Old French, from Latin distāns, distant-, present participle of distāre, to be remote : dis-, apart; see DIS- + stāre, to stand; see stā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.