Definition of long adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//lɒŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lɔːŋ//
    , NAmE//lɑːŋ//
    BrE BrE//ˈlɒŋɡə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɔːŋɡər//
    , NAmE//ˈlɑːŋɡər//
    , longest
    BrE BrE//ˈlɒŋɡɪst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɔːŋɡɪst//
    , NAmE//ˈlɑːŋɡɪst//
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  1. 1  for a long time Have you been here long? Stay as long as you like. The party went on long into the night. This may take longer than we thought. I won't be long (= I'll return, be ready, etc. soon). How long have you been waiting? These reforms are long overdue. Which Word?(for) long / (for) a long time Both (for) long and (for) a long time are used as expressions of time. In positive sentences (for) a long time is used:We’ve been friends a long time. (For) long is not used in positive sentences unless it is used with too, enough, as, so, seldom, etc:I stayed out in the sun for too long. You’ve been waiting long enough. Both (for) long and (for) a long time can be used in questions, but (for) long is usually preferred:Have you been waiting long? In negative sentences (for) a long time sometimes has a different meaning from (for) long. Compare:I haven’t been here for a long time (= It is a long time since the last time I was here) and I haven’t been here long (= I arrived here only a short time ago).
  2. 2  a long time before or after a particular time or event He retired long before the war. It wasn't long before she had persuaded him (= it only took a short time). We'll be home before long (= soon). The house was pulled down long ago. They had long since (= a long time before the present time) moved away.
  3. 3used after a noun to emphasize that something happens for the whole of a particular period of time We had to wait all day long. The baby was crying all night long. They stayed up the whole night long.
  4. Word Originadverb Old English lang, long (adjective), lange, longe (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German lang.Word Familylong adjective adverblength nounlengthy adjectivelengthen verbIdioms
    1. 1  only if We'll go as long as the weather is good.
    2. 2  since; to the extent that So long as there is a demand for these drugs, the financial incentive for drug dealers will be there.
     for (such) a long time Will you be away for long? I'm sorry I haven't written to you for so long.
    he who laughs last laughs longest
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    (saying) used to tell somebody not to be too proud of their present success; in the end another person may be more successful
    how long have you got? (British English) (North American English how long do you have?)
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    (informal) used to say that something is going to take a long time to explain What do I think about it? How long have you got?
    long live somebody/something
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    used to say that you hope somebody/something will live or last for a long time
     used to say that something which was possible or true before, is not now I can't wait any longer. He no longer lives here. (informal) goodbye
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: long