Meaning of LENGTH in English

ˈleŋ(k)th, ˈlen(t)th noun

( plural lengths -ths, ˈleŋks)

Etymology: Middle English lengthe, from Old English lengthu (akin to Old Frisian lengethe length, Middle Dutch lengede, lengde, Old Norse lengd ), from lang, long long + -thu -th — more at long


a. : the longer of the 2 straight-line dimensions of a surface or plane or the longest of the 3 straight-line dimensions of a solid : extent from end to end — distinguished from width

the island was three miles in length

b. : a distance or dimension expressed in units of linear measure

a length of 10 inches

c. : the quality or state of being long — opposed to shortness

weariness and boredom exaggerated the length of the journey

d. : wavelength


a. : duration or extent in time

doesn't seem to prove much, considering the lengths of the lives of both women — Elizabeth Bishop

stood weaving on his feet for the length of a long breath — F.B.Gipson

finally the length of the high school was standardized … at four years — T.H.Briggs


(1) : relative duration of a sound (as a vowel or syllable in speech or prosody or a note in music)

(2) : protracted duration or stress of a sound in speech, prosody, or music

the long a gives the word sale its length

c. archaic : prolixity or excess in expression

there is such length in grief — Shakespeare


a. : distance or extent in space

it would be hard, even in New England, to match Main Street for its length of 18th century square houses — Elizabeth Coatsworth

appeared dimly white round a distant bend of the dusty road, a weary length behind — Haldane Macfall


(1) : the measure of something taken as a unit of distance

darted across the highway scarcely two car lengths ahead of me

kept most of his acquaintances at arm's length

(2) : the length of a competitor (as a horse or boat) taken as a unit in stating the margin of a lead or of victory in a race

he led by three lengths at the top of the stretch

(3) : the fully extended body

stretched her length lazily on the warm earth

took a hard right on the jaw and measured his length on the floor


a. chiefly Scotland : an indicated or specified distance

I'll go with you the length to the hall

b. : the degree, limit, or extreme to which a course of action or a line of thought or discussion is carried

tended to carry his policy of masterly inactivity to dangerous lengths — Harvey Graham

even went the length of reading the play … to ascertain what it was all about — G.B.Shaw

here we see the foolish lengths to which human malevolence will go — Norman Douglas


a. : a long expanse or stretch

brushed her lengths of lustrous hair

large lengths of seas and shores between my father and my mother lay — Shakespeare

b. : a piece constituting or usable as part of a whole or of a connected series : segment , section

steel bars are furnished in standard shapes and sizes, in both coils and straight lengths — advt

short lengths of film with both ends spliced together to permit continuous repetition — W.F.Mackey


a. : fluidity

b. : ability to yield a fluid mixture — compare oil length

7. archaic : a 42-line portion of an actor's part

8. : the volume of wort drawn from a quantity of malt during brewing

9. : the holding of more than a player's proportionate share of the cards of one suit in a card game (as four or more at bridge)

he had length in trumps


a. : the distance an especially well pitched ball in cricket travels before hitting the ground

bowled a good length

pitched the ball a fraction short of a length — Ray Robinson

b. : the distance to be shot in archery

11. : the vertical dimension of an article of clothing especially with reference to the part of the body it reaches or its height above the floor

stockings are made in three lengths

evening dresses in short and long lengths

knee- length pants

a hip- length jacket

a floor- length gown

- at length

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.