Definition: Length

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English lengthe, from Old English lengþ, lengþu, from Proto-West Germanic *langiþu, from Proto-Germanic *langiþō, equivalent to long + -th. Cognate with Scots lenth, lainth (length), Saterland Frisian Loangte (length), West Frisian lingte, langte (length), Dutch lengte (length), German Low German Längde, Längd, Längte, Längt (length), Danish længde (length), Swedish längd (length), Icelandic lengd (length).


length (countable and uncountable, plural lengths)

  1. The distance measured along the longest dimension of an object.
  2. Duration.
  3. (horse racing) The length of a horse, used to indicate the distance between horses at the end of a race.
  4. (mathematics) The distance between the two ends of a line segment.
  5. (cricket) The distance down the pitch that the ball bounces on its way to the batsman.
  6. Total extent.
    The length of a book used to be a factor in deciding what I wanted to read.
  7. Part of something that is long; a physical piece of something.
    It was fastened with a length of rope.
  8. (theater) A unit of script length, comprising 42 lines.
  9. (bridge) The number of cards held in a particular suit.

Derived terms

  • arm's length
  • at length
  • feature-length
  • full-length
  • Hubble length
  • lengthen
  • lengthwise
  • lengthy
  • Planck length
  • shoulder-length
  • wavelength


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