Meaning of “depth” in the English Dictionary

"depth" in British English

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uk /depθ/ us /depθ/

depth noun (DISTANCE DOWN)

B1 [ C or U ] the distance down either from the top of something to the bottom, or to a distance below the top surface of something:

the depth of a lake/pond
There are very few fish at depths (= distances below the surface) below 3,000 metres.
The river froze to a depth of over a metre.
the depths [ plural ] literary

the lowest part of the sea:

The ship sank slowly to the depths of the ocean.

More examples

  • Use a garden fork to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches.
  • Northern elephant seals and Weddell seals can dive to depths of 600-1,250 meters.
  • The submarine stayed submerged at a depth of over 45 meters.
  • The seals usually dive to a depth of 400 meters where they feed on fish such as Antarctic cod.
  • The depth of the children's pool is only 0.85 meters.

depth noun (SERIOUSNESS)

B2 [ C or U ] the state of having serious qualities or the ability to think seriously about something:

Terry lacks depth - he's a very superficial person.
Her writing shows astonishing depth.
Jo has hidden depths (= serious qualities that you do not see immediately).
in depth

B2 in a serious and detailed way:

I'd like to look at this question in some depth.

More examples

  • I don't dispute that Lucas' films are entertaining, but they haven't got much depth.
  • He's entertaining enough but he lacks a little depth.
  • Her later writing showed more depth.
  • She may seem fairly frivolous but I suspect she has hidden depths.
  • Yet his work rarely shows the depth of his father's oeuvre.

(Definition of “depth” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"depth" in American English

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depthnoun [ C/U ]

us /depθ/

depth noun [ C/U ] (DISTANCE DOWN)

the distance down from the top surface of something to the bottom:

[ C ] They were scuba diving at a depth of 22 meters.
[ U ] The numbers on the left show the depth in inches.

depth noun [ C/U ] (DISTANCE BACKWARD)

the distance from the front to the back of something:

[ U ] Bookshelves should be at least nine inches in depth.

depth noun [ C/U ] (STRENGTH)

the strength, quality, or degree of being complete:

[ U ] It’s hard to get a handle on the depth of her knowledge.

depth noun [ C/U ] (SERIOUSNESS)

the ability to think seriously about something:

[ U ] Don’t look for depth in this show.
in depth

Something done in depth is done carefully and in great detail:

I interviewed her in depth.
an in-depth report

(Definition of “depth” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)