Going the Distance in Spanish, and Measuring It

When you talk about distances in Spanish, you generally use the metric system, which is based on units of 10. That makes it easy to convert between centimeters, meters, and kilometers. But occasionally, you may want to talk about distances as they’re used in the English measurement system, so the Spanish equivalents of those words are included here as well.

When you’re trying to figure out how a kilometer compares to a mile, remember that a kilómetro (kee-loh-meh-troh) equals a little more than half a mile. And when you’re talking about meters and yards, a metro (meh-troh) is slightly longer than a yard.

Distances in the metric system

In the metric system, remember that un centímetro (oon sehn-tee-mehn-troh) (1 centimeter) equals one one-hundredth of un metro (oon meh-troh) (1 meter), and un kilómetro (oon kee-loh-meh-tro) (1 kilometer) equals mil metros (meel meh-trohs) (1,000 meters).

Distances in the English system

[Credit: PhotoDisc, Inc.]

Credit: PhotoDisc, Inc.

If you need to talk about distances in the English system in Spanish, you’ll need these words:

  • una milla (oonah meeyah; one mile): One mile equals approximately 1.61 kilometers, which means that 1 kilometer equals approximately 0.62 miles.

  • una yarda (oonah yahr-dah; one yard): One yard equals 0.9144 meters; 1 meter equals 1.094 yards.

  • un pie (oon peeeh; one foot): One foot (which is one third of a yard) equals approximately 0.305 meters, which menas that 1 meter equals approximately 3.28 feet.

  • una pulgada (oo-nah pool-gah-dah; one inch): One inch equals 2.54 centimeters; 1 centimeter equals approximately 0.394 inches.