Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year, approximately 9.46 trillion (9.46 × 1012) kilometers or 5.88 trillion (5.88 × 1012) miles.
  • n. Informal A long way. Often used in the plural: a small town light-years away from the action of the capital.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of light year.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The distance over which light can travel in a year's time in a vacuum, 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion kilometers); -- used as a unit in expressing stellar distances. It is more than 63,000 times as great as the distance from the earth to the sun. The star nearest to the earth's sun is about 4 light years distant.
  • a very large difference; -- used figuratively to express great differences (of distance, quality, time) in comparisons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The distance traversed by light in one year; the unit usually employed in expressing the distances of the fixed stars: for example, the distance of a Centauri is light-years.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1 year; 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers
  • n. the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1 year; 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers

Etymologies

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