[ bredth, bretth, breth ]
/ brɛdθ, brɛtθ, brɛθ /


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

Nearby words

  1. breadnut,
  2. breadroot,
  3. breadstick,
  4. breadsticks,
  5. breadstuff,
  6. breadthways,
  7. breadwinner,
  8. break,
  9. break a leg,
  10. break and entry

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for breadthless


/ (brɛdθ, brɛtθ) /


the linear extent or measurement of something from side to side; width
a piece of fabric having a standard or definite width
distance, extent, size, or dimension
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