[bredth, bretth, breth]
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  1. the measure of the second largest dimension of a plane or solid figure; width.
  2. an extent or piece of something of definite or full width or as measured by its width: a breadth of cloth.
  3. freedom from narrowness or restraint; liberality: a person with great breadth of view.
  4. size in general; extent.
  5. Art. a broad or general effect due to subordination of details or nonessentials.

Origin of breadth

1515–25; earlier bredeth, equivalent to brede breadth (Middle English; Old English brǣdu, equivalent to brǣd-, mutated variant of brād broad +-u noun suffix) + -th1 akin to German Breite, Gothic braidei
Related formsbreadth·less, adjective
Can be confusedbreadth breath breathe

Synonyms for breadth

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for breadth


  1. the linear extent or measurement of something from side to side; width
  2. a piece of fabric having a standard or definite width
  3. distance, extent, size, or dimension
  4. openness and lack of restriction, esp of viewpoint or interest; liberality

Word Origin for breadth

C16: from obsolete brēde (from Old English brǣdu, from brād broad) + -th 1; related to Gothic braidei, Old High German breitī
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for breadth

1520s, alteration of brede "breadth," from Old English brædu "breadth, width, extent," from bræd; probably by analogy of long/length.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper