[lengk-thee, leng-, len-]

adjective, length·i·er, length·i·est.

having or being of great length; very long: a lengthy journey.
tediously verbose; very long; too long: a lengthy speech.

Origin of lengthy

An Americanism dating back to 1680–90; length + -y1
Related formslength·i·ly, adverblength·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lengthily

Historical Examples of lengthily

  • Never before in his life had Mark spoken so eloquently nor so lengthily.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock

  • I only know that after talking so lengthily he fell into a nine days' silence.

    The Virginian

    Owen Wister

  • Modesty may suffer from a lengthily savoured kiss between two Pietists of eighteen.

  • A Conservative speech is as accurately (though perhaps not as lengthily) reported in a Liberal paper as in one of its own colour.

    The Land of Contrasts

    James Fullarton Muirhead

  • Mr. Horbury looked quietly and lengthily at the boy, who stood white and sick before him.

    The Secret Glory

    Arthur Machen

British Dictionary definitions for lengthily


adjective lengthier or lengthiest

of relatively great or tiresome extent or duration
Derived Formslengthily, adverblengthiness, noun
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 lengthily



1759, American English, from length + -y (2). Until c.1840 always characterized in British English as an Americanism.

This word has been very common among us, both in writing and in the language of conversation; but it has been so much ridiculed by Americans as well as Englishmen, that in writing it is now generally avoided. Mr. Webster has admitted it into his dictionary; but as need hardly be remarked it is not in any of the English ones. It is applied by us, as Mr. Webster justly observes, chiefly to writings or discourses. Thus we say, a lengthy pamphlet, a lengthy sermon, &c. The English would say, a long or (in the more familiar style) a longish sermon. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]

Related: Lengthily; lengthiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper