From Middle English lengthe, from Old English lengþu (longness; length), 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) 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. (figuratively) Total extent.
    the length of a book
  7. Part of something that is long; a physical piece of something.
    a length of rope

Derived termsEdit



length (third-person singular simple present lengths, present participle lengthing, simple past and past participle lengthed)

  1. (obsolete) To lengthen.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim, XIV. 30:
      Pack night, peep day; good day, of night now borrow: / Short night, to-night, and length thyself to-morrow.
    • 1552, Richard Huloet, "Ladies of Destinie" in Abecedarium Anglico-Latinum
      Was never man such favour could off atall ladies fynde, To cause them lengthe or shorte the day which they to hym assynde.
    • a. 1608, Thomas Sackville, Allegorical Personages described in Hell
      [He] knows full well life doth but length his pain.