English edit

Etymology edit

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).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

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
  8. (theater) A unit of script length, comprising 42 lines.
    • 1890, Henry Austin, Address of Henry Austin Before the Second Nationalist Club, page 38:
      [] open your book of the play, which you have previously carefully perused, and at the same time marked with the proper calls, as thus: a length (or 42 lines) before an entrance, with a pen make a figure on the margin, []
    • 1960, J. L. Hodgkinson, Rex Pogson, The Early Manchester Theatre, page 45:
      The boy was engaged to write out parts at a penny a length (42 lines) for Chetwood, who then charged the manager, []
  9. (bridge) The number of cards held in a particular suit.
    • 1999, Edwin B. Kantar, Eddie Kantar Teaches Advanced Bridge Defense, page 191:
      An artificial bid doesn't necessarily show length in the suit being bid, it has an altogether different meaning.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Verb edit

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

  1. (obsolete) To lengthen.
    • 1599, “(please specify the chapter or poem)”, in The Passionate Pilgrime. [], 2nd edition, London: [] [Thomas Judson] for W[illiam] Iaggard, and are to be sold by W[illiam] Leake, [], →OCLC:
      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.