A Stone's Throw: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 21, 2023

The expression "a stone's throw" is a colloquial way of saying that something is very close in distance. It evokes the image of the short distance a stone might travel if casually thrown, suggesting that the location or object is only a short distance away. It's like saying, "It's just around the corner" or "It's very close by."

In short:

"A stone's throw" means a short distance away.

What Does “A Stone's Throw” Mean?

When someone says something is "a stone's throw away," they are referring to a short distance. It's as if you could reach the place or object by simply throwing a stone.

Here are some important aspects of this idiom's meaning:

  • It often refers to a distance that can be covered on foot in a short amount of time.
  • It's a figurative expression and doesn't specify an exact distance.
  • It can also describe closeness in terms of relationship or similarity.
  • It can also be used in a broader sense to describe things that are similar or closely related.

Where Does “A Stone's Throw” Come From?

The origin and history of the idiom "a stone's throw" refers to a short but undefined distance, literally the distance a stone can be thrown. The phrase has its roots in early English versions of the Bible, which mention "a stone's cast" with a similar meaning. For instance, Luke 22:41 in Wycliffe's Bible from 1526 states: "in nd he gat himself from them, about a stone's cast." The specific variant "stone's throw" was firmly established by John Arbuthnot in "The History of John Bull" in 1712. Following that, there have been numerous citations of the phrase in various works.

Historical Usage

By the end of the 16th century, the phrase "stone's throw" was used in non-biblical settings, as seen in Arthur Hall's translation "The Ten books of Homers Iliades" from 1581, which contains the line:

"For who can see a stones throw of ought thing in land or plaine?"

10 Examples of “A Stone's Throw” in Sentences

Here are some examples to help you understand the usage of this idiom:

  • Here's the thing: the park is just a stone's throw away from my house, so we can easily walk there.
  • We live a stone's throw apart, yet we rarely meet.
  • I know he lives a stone's throw away from the library, but he continues to play dumb whenever I ask him about returning my book.
  • Her new apartment is a stone's throw from the office.
  • The grocery store? It's just a stone's throw down the road.
  • They moved to a place that's a stone's throw from the school.
  • I visit the farmer's market on a regular basis since it is just a stone's throw from my apartment.
  • My best friend lives a stone's throw away from me.
  • I'm pleased to meet you. Since my office is just a stone's throw away from here, feel free to drop by anytime you have questions.
  • Her ideas are a stone's throw from being revolutionary.

Examples of “A Stone's Throw” in Pop Culture

  • The song "Stone's Throw From Hurtin'" by Elton John.
  • The book "A Stone's Throw" by Fiona Shaw.
  • The song Stone's Throw by Nickel Creek contains the line "Babe are you ok? I was only a stone's throw away."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “A Stone's Throw”

  • Close by
  • Within arm's reach
  • Nearby
  • Just around the corner
  • Not far

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “A Stone's Throw”:

  • What does "a stone's throw" mean?

It means a short distance away.

  • Where did the idiom originate?

It has ancient roots, often associated with the distance a stone can be thrown.

  • Is it used in modern English?

Yes, it's a commonly used idiom in modern English.

  • Can it describe relationships?

Yes, it can also describe closeness in terms of relationship or similarity.

  • Is it used in other languages?

Many languages have similar idioms, but the exact phrasing might differ.

  • Can it be used in a negative context?

Generally, it's neutral, but context can give it a positive or negative connotation.

  • Is it formal or informal?

It's more informal and is often used in casual conversations.

  • Are there songs with this idiom?

Yes, for example, "Stone's Throw From Hurtin'" by Elton John.

  • Can it be used in writing?

It's used in both spoken and written English.

  • Is it a metaphor?

Yes, it's a metaphorical way of describing a short distance.

Final Thoughts About “A Stone's Throw”

"A stone's throw" is a phrase that encapsulates proximity, both literal and metaphorical. Whether you're talking about the short distance to a neighboring house, a nearby park, or how close you are to achieving a goal, the phrase serves as a vivid descriptor.

Here's a quick wrap-up:

  • It's a reminder of a time when distances were measured in simpler ways.
  • Despite its age, it remains relevant and widely used today.
  • It's a testament to the enduring nature of language and how it evolves while retaining links to the past.

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