American English

Definition of long adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , longest
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  1. 1measuring or covering a great length or distance, or a greater length or distance than usual She had long dark hair. He walked down the long corridor. It was the world's longest bridge. a long journey/walk/drive/flight We're a long way from anywhere here. It's a long way away. opposite short
  2. 2used for asking or talking about particular lengths or distances How long is the River Nile? The table is six feet long. The report is only three pages long.
  3. time
  4. 3lasting or taking a great amount of time or more time than usual He's been sick (for) a long time. There was a long silence before she spoke. I like it now that the days are getting longer (= it stays light for more time each day). a long book/movie/list (= taking a lot of time to read/watch/deal with) Nurses have to work long hours (= for more hours in the day than is usual). He stared at them for the longest time (= for a very long time) before answering. opposite short
  5. 4used for asking or talking about particular periods of time How long is the course? I think it's only three weeks long. How long a stay did you have in mind?
  6. 5seeming to last or take more time than it really does because, for example, you are very busy or not happy I'm tired. It's been a long day. We were married for ten long years. opposite short
  7. clothes
  8. 6covering all or most of your legs or arms She usually wears long skirts. a long-sleeved shirt
  9. vowel sounds
  10. 7(phonetics) taking more time to make than a short vowel sound in the same position opposite short
  11. Word Familylong adjective adverblength nounlengthy adjectivelengthen verblong adjective adverblength nounlengthy adjectivelengthen verbIdioms
    as long as your arm (informal)
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    very long There's a list of repairs as long as your arm.
    at the longest
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    not longer than the particular time given It will take an hour at the longest.
    at long last
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    after a long time synonym finally At long last his prayers had been answered.
    by a long way
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    by a great amount He was the best by a long way.
    go back a long way
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    (of two or more people) to have known each other for a long time We go back a long way, he and I.
    go a long way
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    (of money, food, etc.) to last a long time She seems to make her money go a long way. A small amount of this paint goes a long way (= covers a large area). (ironic) I find that a little ofJerry's company can go a long way (= I quickly get tired of being with him). see also way
    go a long/some way toward doing something
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    to help very much/a little in achieving something The new law goes a long way toward solving the problem.
    have come a long way
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    to have made a lot of progress We've come a long way since the early days of the project.
    have a long way to go
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    to need to make a lot of progress before you can achieve something She still has a long way to go before she's fully recovered.
    in the long run
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    concerning a longer period in the future This measure inevitably means higher taxes in the long run.
    in the long/short/medium term
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    used to describe what will happen a long, short, etc. time in the future Such a development seems unlikely, at least in the short term (= it will not happen for quite a long time). In the longer term, children of depressed mothers are more likely to suffer from childhood depression. see also long-term, medium-term, short-term
    it's a long story (informal)
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    used to say that the reasons for something are complicated and you would prefer not to give all the details
    the long and (the) short of it
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    used when you are telling someone the essential facts about something or what effect it will have, without explaining all the details
    the long arm of something
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    the power and/or authority of something There is no escape from the long arm of the law.
    (pull, wear, etc.) a long face
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    (to have) an unhappy or disappointed expression He took one look at her long face and said “What's wrong?”
    long in the tooth (humorous)
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    old or too old This originally referred to the fact that a horse's teeth appear to be longer as it grows older, because its gums shrink.
    long on something (informal)
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    having a lot of a particular quality The government is long on ideas but short on performance.
    a long shot
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    an attempt or a guess that is not likely to be successful but is worth trying It's a long shot, but it just might work.
    long time no see (informal)
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    used to say hello to someone you have not seen for a long time
    not by a long shot
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    not nearly; not at all It's not over yet—not by a long shot.
    take a long (cool/hard) look at something
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    to consider a problem or possibility very carefully and without hurrying We need to take a long hard look at all the options.
    take the long view (of something)
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    to consider what is likely to happen or be important over a long period of time rather than only considering the present situation As pension funds are investing for members' retirements, they can take the long view.
    to make a long story short (informal)
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    used when you are saying that you will get to the point of what you are saying quickly, without including all the details To make a long story short, we didn't get home until 3 in the morning!
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: long