Definition of length in English:

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Pronunciation: /leNG(k)TH/
Pronunciation: /lenth/


1The measurement or extent of something from end to end; the greater of two or the greatest of three dimensions of a body: it can reach over two feet in length the length of the airport terminal
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.
extent, distance, linear measure, span, reach;
area, expanse, stretch, range, scope
1.1The 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.
period, duration, stretch, span
1.2The quality of being long: the length of the waiting list
lengthiness, extent, prolixity, wordiness, verbosity, long-windedness
1.3The 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.
1.4The 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.
1.5 Prosody & Phonetics The metrical quantity or duration of a vowel or syllable.
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 extent of something, especially as a unit of measurement, in particular.
2.1The 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.
2.2The length of a horse, boat, etc., as a measure of the lead in a race: the mare won the race last year 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.
2.3 (one's length) The full extent of one’s body: he awkwardly lowered his length into the small car
3(In bridge or whist) the number of cards of a suit held in one’s hand, especially when five or 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.
4A stretch or piece of something: a stout length of wood
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.
piece, swatch, measure
5A degree or 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.



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.
for a long time, for ages, for hours, interminably, endlessly, ceaselessly, unendingly
thoroughly, fully, in detail, in depth, comprehensively, exhaustively, extensively
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.
after a long time, eventually, in time, finally, at last, at long last, in the end, ultimately

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.


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

Words that rhyme with length


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: length

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