[bredth, bretth, breth]
  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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for breadthless


  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 breadthless



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