Meaning of “long” in the English Dictionary

"long" in British English

See all translations


uk /lɒŋ/ us /lɑːŋ/

long adjective (TIME)

A1 continuing for a large amount of time:

a long film/meeting
I've been waiting a long time.
It's a long time since I worked there.
Apparently the sessions are an hour long.

More examples

  • Passengers could face long delays.
  • She had a long career in films.
  • She gave him a long, lingering kiss.
  • They had a long and happy marriage.
  • After a long, awkward pause someone asked a question.

long adjective (DISTANCE)

A1 being a distance between two points that is more than average or usual:

long hair
long legs
a long dress
There was a long queue at the post office.
We're still a long way from the station.

More examples

  • He noticed her long delicate fingers.
  • It's a heck of a long way to the nearest shop from here.
  • I love going on long journeys.
  • There's a long flight of steps ascending to the cathedral doors.
  • The island has long golden beaches fringed by palm trees.

long adjective (MANY WORDS)

A2 used to describe a piece of writing that has a lot of pages or words:

More examples

  • I got a lovely long newsy letter from Bec.
  • His speech was long and dull.
  • He is well known to the police and has a long criminal record .
  • Your conclusion is good, but the final sentence is too long and complicated.
  • It gives you a sense of achievement if you actually make it to the end of a very long book.


uk /lɒŋ/ us /lɑːŋ/

long adverb (TIME)

A2 used to mean "(for) a long time", especially in questions and negative sentences:

Have you been waiting (for) long?
I'm just writing a letter but it won't take long.
How long have you been in England?
Don't rush - take as long as you like.
We've been walking all day long.
I've known her longer than you have.
I won't be staying much longer.

C2 a long period of time before or after something:

She left the house long before I arrived.
It wasn't long before he was back with his family.
He did not join them until long after they had eaten.

used with the past participle or the -ing form of the verb to mean that a state or activity has continued for a long time:

long-serving employees

More examples

  • So how long have you been married to Nicky?
  • Changes to the tax system are long overdue.
  • How long did Queen Victoria reign?
  • He's been single so long now, I don't think he'll ever marry.
  • I do apologize - my train was delayed. I hope you haven't been waiting long.

long adverb (IF)

as/so long as

More examples

  • Windsurfing is perfectly safe as long as you use some common sense.
  • So long as he's happy - that's all that matters .
  • Goods are exchangeable as long as they are returned in good condition.
  • I don't foresee any difficulties so long as we keep within budget.
  • I don't mind being woken up once or twice in the middle of the night by my flatmate so long as she doesn't make a habit of it .

B1 used to say that something must happen before something else can happen:

I can come as long as I can leave by 4.00.
Bring your friends by all means - just so long as I know how many are coming.



uk /lɒŋ/ us /lɑːŋ/ formal


uk /lɒŋ/ us /lɑːŋ/

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

"long" in American English

See all translations

longadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /lɔŋ/

long adjective [ -er/-est only ] (DISTANCE)

being a distance between two points that is more than average or usual, or being of a particular length:

There was a long line at the post office.
When I was young I wore my hair long.
We’re still a long way from the station (= a great distance).

A long piece of writing, such as a book or story, has many words:

It’s a long book – over 600 pages.
Long underwear

Long underwear is long johns.

long adjective [ -er/-est only ] (TIME)

being an amount of time that is more than average or usual, or being of a particular amount of time:

The days are longer in summer than in winter.
We had to wait a long time to see the doctor.
We went away for a long weekend in April (= Saturday, Sunday, and an extra day or days).

Something that is long-lost has not been seen for many years before appearing suddenly:

A long-lost diary was discovered among his papers.

longverb [ I ]

us /lɔŋ/

long verb [ I ] (WANT)

to want something very much:

[ + to infinitive ] She longed to move out of the city.

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

"long" in Business English

See all translations


uk /lɒŋ/ us

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET used to describe the situation in which you buy and keep shares, etc. because you expect them to rise in value and make a profit:

Nobody wants to be long on stocks over a weekend of economic uncertainty, because stocks may fall sharply in value when markets reopen on Monday.
do/have/work long hours/days

WORKPLACE to work more hours each day than people usually do:

In spite of the New Deal, junior doctors are still working dangerously long hours.


go long (on sth)

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET to buy or keep shares, etc. because you expect their price to rise, so that you can make a profit:

The prospects for domestic demand growth in the eurozone are not great, so why not go long on sterling, where the prospects for domestic demand growth are still looking optimistic?

(Definition of “long” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)