American English

Definition of length noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//lɛŋθ//
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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the size or measurement of something from one end to the other This room is twice the length of the kitchen. The river is 300 miles in length. The snake usually reaches a length of 6 ft. He ran the entire length of the beach (= from one end to the other). Did you see the length of his hair? compare breadth, width
  2. time
  3. 2[uncountable, countable] the amount of time that something lasts We discussed shortening the length of the course. He was disgusted at the length of time he had to wait. She got a headache if she had to read for any length of time (= for a long time). The size of the pension depends partly on the individual's length of service with the company. Each class is 45 minutes in length.
  4. of book/movie
  5. 3[uncountable, countable] the amount of writing in a book, or a document, etc.; the amount of time that a movie lasts Her novels vary in length.
  6. -length
  7. 4(in adjectives) having the length mentioned shoulder-length hair see also full-length, knee-length
  8. of swimming pool
  9. 5[countable] the distance from one end of a swimming pool to the other He swims 50 lengths a day. compare width
  10. in race
  11. 6[countable] the size of a horse or boat from one end to the other, when it is used to measure the distance between two horses or boats taking part in a race The horse won by two lengths.
  12. long thin piece
  13. 7[countable] a long, thin piece of something a length of rope/string/wire boards sold in lengths of 2, 5 or 10 yards see also long
  14. Word Familylong adjective adverblength nounlengthy adjectivelengthen verbIdioms
      at length, at… length
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    1. 1for a long time and in detail He quoted at length from the report. We have already discussed this matter at great length.
    2. 2(literary) after a long time “I'm still not sure,” he said at length.
    go to any, some, great, etc. lengths (to do something)
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    to put a lot of effort into doing something, especially when this seems extreme She goes to extraordinary lengths to keep her private life private.
    keep somebody at arm's length
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    to avoid having a close relationship with someone He keeps all his clients at arm's length.
    the length and breadth of…
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    in or to all parts of a place They have traveled the length and breadth of North America giving concerts.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: length