[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 lengthy

Contemporary Examples of lengthy

Historical Examples of lengthy

  • His oration was lengthy and his eulogy spoken with evident emotion.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The description of Ranelagh (in the chapter on Music) is too lengthy to reproduce.

  • Fatigued by this lengthy speech, I closed my eyes and yawned.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • And he had written a lengthy epistle on the state of Ireland.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It is right, but too lengthy to be worth as much as a Quadratic.

    A Tangled Tale

    Lewis Carroll

British Dictionary definitions for lengthy


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 lengthy

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