The kilometre (American spelling: kilometer), symbol km [For the purposes of compatibility with Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters there is a
Unicodesymbol for the kilometre, ㎞, (code 339E).] is a unit of lengthin the metric system, equal to one thousand metres. Slangterms for kilometre include "click" (sometimes spelled " klick" or "klik") and "kay" (or "k"). [These non-standard terms can also refer to kilometres per hour.]
There are two different pronunciations for the word:
*IPA|/kɪˈlɒm.ə.tə(r)/.The former pronunciation follows the general pattern in English whereby metric units of measurement are pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, and preserves the correct pronunciation of "
metre". However, the latter pronunciation; which follows the stress pattern used for the names of measuring instruments (such as "micrometer", "barometer", "thermometer", "tachometer" and "speedometer"); is in common usage. Kingsley Amishas suggested that this pronunciation (and the American spelling) be reserved for the thousand-measurer, the wall which Herodotussays Xerxes built around a thousand troops so he could count his army. ["The King's English": "Kilometre"; Herodotus 7, 60]
Equivalence to other units of length
The United Kingdom and the United States are the only two developed countries which continue to use miles on road signs.Fact|date=August 2008
Although the UK has officially adopted the metric system, there is no intention to replace the mile on road signs in the near future, owing to the British public's attachment to traditional imperial units of distance, i.e., miles, yards and inches, and the cost of changing speed signs (which could not be replaced during general maintenance, like distance signs, for safety reasons).cite news | author=Andrew Clark | title=Campaign for £80m switch to kilometres | date=
2006-02-23| publisher= The Guardian| url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,,1715807,00.html | accessdate = 2008-01-07] cite news | title=Call for metric road sign switch | date= 2006-02-23| publisher= BBC| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4741894.stm | work =BBC News Online | accessdate = 2008-01-07] As of 11 September 2007, the EU has not challenged Britain's use of the imperial systems. EU commissioner Günter Verheugensaid: "There is not now and never will be any requirement to drop imperial measurements."cite news | title=EU gives up on 'metric Britain' | date= 2007-09-11| publisher= BBC| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6988521.stm | work =BBC News Online | accessdate = 2007-10-12]
In the US, the "
National Highway System Designation Actof 1995" prohibits the use of federal-aid highway funds to convert existing signs or purchase new signs with metric units.cite web|url=http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/faq.htm#question17 |title=50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System - Frequently Asked Questions |accessdate=2007-10-12 |publisher=US Department of Transport ] However, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devicessince 2000 published in both metric and American Customary Units. (See also Metrication in the United States.)
Notes and references
Conversion of units, for comparison with other units of length
Orders of magnitude (length)
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