Definition of length in English:

length

Line breaks: length
Pronunciation: /lɛŋθ
 
, lɛŋkθ
 
/

noun

1 [mass noun] The measurement or extent of something from end to end; the greater of two or the greatest of three dimensions of an object: the delta is twenty kilometres in length [count noun]: the fish reaches a length of 10 inches
More example sentences
  • Being around three to four inches in length they are also just the right size for tench fishing.
  • Although seldom more than three inches in length, the hair may be cut to a quarter of an inch at the nape of the neck.
  • The very biggest may have reached 40 metres in length and weighed close to 100 metric tons.
Synonyms
extent, extent lengthwise, distance, distance lengthwise, linear measure, span, reach;
1.1The quality of being long: the length of the waiting list
1.2 [count noun] The length of a swimming pool as a measure of the distance swum: fifty lengths of the pool
More example sentences
  • Splitting her time between homes in Knightsbridge and Gloucestershire, she swims her daily 30 lengths in a swimming pool fitted with underwater speakers.
  • Keith Green, of Robin Close, Warminster is to swim 65 lengths of the Kingdown swimming pool in Warminster for MacMillan Cancer Relief.
  • Two years ago, Kevin O'Donnell could barely swim 12 lengths of his local swimming pool and would drag himself totally exhausted from the water.
1.3 [count noun] The length of a horse, boat, etc., as a measure of the lead in a race: the mare won the race by seven lengths
More example sentences
  • The bay colt won a maiden race by seven lengths at Del Mar on August 17 in his second career start.
  • They led the whole race finishing a boat length ahead of the Irish.
  • As they moved through the middle of the race the Evers-Swindells had extended their lead to a boat length over Germany.
1.4The extent of a garment in a vertical direction when worn: the length of her skirt
More example sentences
  • Lines, whether they are stripes in the print, seams or zippers, can add width or length to the garment.
  • It's really a matter of choosing the skirt shape and length which best suits your figure and shows off your assets.
  • Her outfit consisted of a simple skirt of average length, a long-sleeved shirt, and casual makeup.
1.5The full distance that a thing extends for: the muscles running the length of my spine
More example sentences
  • Walking down to the legal precinct this morning the full two-block length of Hyde Park was beautiful.
  • She was dressed in a long peachy pink dress that hugged her bust tightly, and was long and loose for the rest of the garment's length.
1.6 (one's length) The full extent of one’s body: he awkwardly lowered his length into the small car
1.7 Prosody & Phonetics The metrical quantity or duration of a vowel or syllable: the length of the syllable is isomorphic with the length of the syllabic vowel
More example sentences
  • As Navajo is a tone language, an error in tone or vowel length can be embarrassing to the listener.
  • In our research, stress is treated as a function of syllable length.
2The amount of time occupied by something: delivery must be within a reasonable length of time
More example sentences
  • Child benefits will be tied to the length of service and amount of contributions paid until the baby is born.
  • The tilt of the earth not only gives us the changing day lengths, but the seasons as well.
  • Day length is a stable seasonal cue and controls biological changes in a host of species.
Synonyms
3A piece or stretch of something: a length of brown satin the surviving length of track
More example sentences
  • Maria carefully rolled the piece, winding a length of sticky tape around the tube, stowing it in her bag.
  • Suddenly he was behind me, a length of white cord stretched tightly between his two hands.
  • ‘You can still see pebbles in the stone,’ says Gerry, caressing the surface of a length of wall down by Kaleyard's Gate.
Synonyms
piece, swatch, portion, section, measure, segment, roll
4An extreme to which a course of action is taken: they go to great lengths to avoid the press
More example sentences
  • Since I decided to argue against this form of feminism in my first essay for the course, I had to go to great lengths to hide this book from my younger siblings throughout reading week.
  • Some of them deliberately cultivate an extremely casual look, and go to great lengths to sport outlandish hairstyles.
  • I told Sean I go to great lengths to look like his mom.
Synonyms
do absolutely anything, go to any extreme, go to any limits, observe no limits
5 Cricket The distance from the batsman at which a well-bowled ball pitches: Lewis tended to bowl short of a length
More example sentences
  • The score had moved on to 168 for 1 in the 36th over when Sachin Tendulkar bowled a ball just short of a length outside off-stump.
  • He learnt quickly, and kept it on a good length or just short - on a pitch of varying bounce, that was the perfect way to bowl.
  • For reasons of balance alone, the sight of Lee making the ball rear from a length was a refreshing sight.
6(In bridge or whist) the number of cards of a suit held in one’s hand, especially when five or more: to open one heart with equal length in hearts and spades is in the modern Acol style
More example sentences
  • For this purpose, a longer trump suit is better than a shorter, and a trump holding in clubs is better than one of the same length in an unstated suit, even if the first player had in fact a club holding.
  • A sequence can be beaten either by a higher sequence of the same length in the same suit or by any sequence of the same length in a higher suit.
  • In choosing between suits of the same length, do not choose a suit with very high cards in it, as these may well win tricks even if they are not trumps.

Origin

Old English lengthu, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lengte, also to long1.

Phrases

at length

1In detail; fully: these aspects have been discussed at length
More example sentences
  • A spokesman for the council said the details of the plans have been discussed at length.
  • Every staffer and volunteer was asked to discuss at length, and in great detail, all the aspects of their job.
  • He spoke at length and in detail to the engineers following his hard-fought seventh place at Sepang.
Synonyms
2After a long time: at length she laid down the pencil
More example sentences
  • The news controllers were at length forced to grapple with the issue by their correspondents' remarks.
Synonyms

the length and breadth of

The whole extent of: women from the length and breadth of Russia
More example sentences
  • Their graves are scattered throughout the length and breadth of Europe.
  • Instead he has a brand new show, much of it drawn from an unlikely source, his weeks spent walking the length and breadth of the country.
  • Omar stated that the human rights abuses are going across the length and breadth of the state and even the womenfolk are not being spared.

Definition of length in:

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