Meaning of “length” in the English Dictionary

"length" in British English

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lengthnoun

uk /leŋθ/ us /leŋθ/

length noun (DISTANCE)

B1 [ C or U ] the measurement of something from end to end or along its longest side:

The boat is ten metres in length.
The length of the bay is approximately 200 miles.
She planted rose bushes (along) the length of the fence (= the whole distance along it).

[ C ] a piece of something such as string or pipe:

a length of rope

[ C ] a unit used in describing the distance by which a horse or boat wins a race, equal to the measurement from one end of the horse or boat to the other:

We won by two lengths.

[ C ] the distance from one end of a swimming pool to the other:

She swims 40 lengths a day.

More examples

  • The impact of the crash reduced the car to a third of its original length.
  • Application forms vary greatly in layout and length.
  • The metre is the standard unit for measuring length in the SI system.
  • The mountains stretch the entire length of the country.
  • Dad, I swam a whole length of the pool underwater !

length noun (TIME)

B2 [ C ] the amount of time something lasts:

the length of a film/speech/play
He is unable to concentrate on his work for any length of time (= for anything more than a short time).

C1 [ C or U ] the amount of writing in a book or document:

He's written books of various lengths on the subject.
All of your essays will be about the same length.
at length

C2 for a long time:

George went on at great length about his various illnesses.

formal If something happens at length, it happens after a long period of time:

At length, the authorities allowed her to go home.

More examples

  • Application forms vary greatly in layout and length.
  • The children are too young for a movie of that length.
  • How can it take that length of time to get dressed?
  • I can't believe the length of time they spend chatting!
  • I asked him to cut the length of his speech.

-lengthsuffix

uk / -leŋθ/ us / -leŋθ/

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

"length" in American English

See all translations

lengthnoun

us /leŋkθ, leŋθ/

length noun (DISTANCE)

[ C/U ] the measurement of something from end to end or along its longest side, or a measurement of a particular part of something:

[ C ] a length of rope
[ U ] The boat is 20 feet in length.

[ C/U ] The length of a piece of writing, such as a book or story, is a measure of the material it contains:

[ U ] The length of the poem was 30 lines.

length noun (TIME)

[ U ] an amount of time:

The movie is nearly three hours in length.
George went on about his illnesses at great/some length (= for a long time).

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