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A mile is any of several units of distance, or, in physics terminology, of length. Today, one mile (often called "statute mile") is equal to about 1609 m on land and one nautical mile to exactly 1852 m at sea and in the air. See below for the details. Abbreviations for mile are "mi" in the U.S., and "ml" and "m" in the UK.

The mile was first used by the Romans and originally denoted a distance of 1,000 (double) steps ("mille passuum" in Latin), which amounted, at approximately 0.75 m per (single) step, to 1,500 metres per mile.

In modern usage, there are various miles:

  • The statute mile, or more specifically
    • The international mile is the one typically meant when the word mile is used without qualification. It is defined to be precisely 1760 international yards (by definition, 0.9144 m each); it is therefore exactly 1609.344 m. It is used in the United States and the United Kingdom as part of the Imperial system of units. The international mile is equivalent to 8 furlongs, or 80 chains, or 5280 international feet.
    • The U.S. survey mile is precisely equal to 5280 U.S. survey feet or 6336/3937 km or, approximately 1609.347 m. One international mile is precisely equal to 0.999 998 survey mile. The survey mile is used by the United States Public Land Survey System.
    • The statute mile simply means a mile of 5280 feet, without specifying which foot is used. The term is therefore ambiguous.
    • The obsolete Scottish mile
  • The international nautical mile is defined to be exactly 1852 m. It is used universally for aviation, naval and maritime purposes and originated from the geographical mile.
  • In Norway and Sweden, a distance of 10 km is most commonly referred to as a mile, see mil.
  • In sports such as athletics and speedskating, the term metric mile is used to denote a distance of 1.5 km.

See also

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