[ lengkth, length, lenth ]
See synonyms for length on Thesaurus.com
  1. the longest extent of anything as measured from end to end: the length of a river.

  2. the measure of the greatest dimension of a plane or solid figure.

  1. extent from beginning to end of a series, enumeration, account, book, etc.: a report running 300 pages in length.

  2. extent in time; duration: the length of a battle.

  3. a distance determined by the extent of something specified: Hold the picture at arm's length.

  4. a piece or portion of a certain or a known extent: a length of rope.

  5. the quality or state of being long rather than short: a journey remarkable for its length.

  6. the extent to which a person might or would go in pursuing something: He went to great lengths to get what he wanted.

  7. a large extent or expanse of something.

  8. the measure from end to end of a horse, boat, etc., as a unit of distance in racing: The horse won by two lengths.

  9. Clothing. the extent of a garment related to a point it reaches, as on the wearer's body, the floor, or on a garment used as a standard of measurement (usually used in combination): an ankle-length gown; a floor-length negligee; a three-quarter-length coat.

  10. Prosody, Phonetics.

    • (of a vowel or syllable) quantity, whether long or short.

    • the quality of vowels.

  11. Bridge. the possession of four or more than four cards in a given suit.

  12. Theater Archaic. 42 lines of an acting part.

Idioms about length

  1. at length,

    • in or to the full extent; completely.

    • after a time; finally: At length there was a step forward in the negotiations.

  2. go to any length / lengths, to disregard any impediment that could prevent one from accomplishing one's purpose: He would go to any lengths to get his own way.

  1. keep at arm's length. arm1 (def. 17).

Origin of length

First recorded before 900; Middle English length(e),Old English lengthu; cognate with Dutch lengte, Old Norse lengd; see long1, -th1

Other words for length

Words Nearby length

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use length in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for length


/ (lɛŋkθ, lɛŋθ) /

  1. the linear extent or measurement of something from end to end, usually being the longest dimension or, for something fixed, the longest horizontal dimension

  2. the extent of something from beginning to end, measured in some more or less regular units or intervals: the book was 600 pages in length

  1. a specified distance, esp between two positions or locations: the length of a race

  2. a period of time, as between specified limits or moments

  3. something of a specified, average, or known size or extent measured in one dimension, often used as a unit of measurement: a length of cloth

  4. a piece or section of something narrow and long: a length of tubing

  5. the quality, state, or fact of being long rather than short

  6. (usually plural) the amount of trouble taken in pursuing or achieving something (esp in the phrase to great lengths)

  7. (often plural) the extreme or limit of action (in phrases such as to any length (s), to what length (s) would someone go, etc)

  8. prosody phonetics the metrical quantity or temporal duration of a vowel or syllable

  9. the distance from one end of a rectangular swimming bath to the other: Compare width (def. 4)

  10. prosody the quality of a vowel, whether stressed or unstressed, that distinguishes it from another vowel of similar articulatory characteristics. Thus () in English beat is of greater length than (ɪ) in English bit

  11. cricket the distance from the batsman at which the ball pitches

  12. bridge a holding of four or more cards in a suit

  13. NZ informal the general idea; the main purpose

  14. at length

    • in depth; fully

    • eventually

    • for a long time; interminably

Origin of length

Old English lengthu; related to Middle Dutch lengede, Old Norse lengd

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with length


see at arm's length; at length; go to any length.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.