Definition of long adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



, longest


1 measuring or covering a great length or distance, or a greater length or distance than usualShe had long dark hair.He walked down the long corridor.It was the world's longest bridge.a long journey/walk/drive/flightWe're a long way from anywhere here.It's a long way away. antonym short2 used for asking or talking about particular lengths or distancesHow long is the River Nile?The table is six feet long.The report is only three pages long.


3 lasting or taking a great amount of time or more time than usualHe'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. antonym short4 used for asking or talking about particular periods of timeHow long is the course?I think it's only three weeks long.How long a stay did you have in mind?5 seeming to last or take more time than it really does because, for example, you are very busy or not happyI'm tired. It's been a long day.We were married for ten long years. antonym short


6 covering all or most of your legs or armsShe usually wears long skirts.a long-sleeved shirt

vowel sounds

7 (phonetics) taking more time to make than a short vowel sound in the same position antonym short

as long as your arm

(informal) very longThere's a list of repairs as long as your long as your arm

at the longest

not longer than the particular time given
It will take an hour at the the longest

at long last

after a long time
synonym finallyAt long last his prayers had been long last

by a long way

by a great amount
He was the best by a long a long way

go back a long way

(of two or more people) to have known each other for a long timeWe go back a long way, he and I.go back a long way

go a long way

(of money, food, etc.) to last a long timeShe 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 of Jerry's company can go a long way (= I quickly get tired of being with him). see also go a long/some way toward doing something way noungo a long way

go a long/some way toward doing something

to help very much/a little in achieving something
The new law goes a long way toward solving the problem.go a long way toward doinggo a some way toward doing

have come a long way

to have made a lot of progress
We've come a long way since the early days of the project.have come a long way

have a long way to go

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.have a long way to go

in the long run

concerning a longer period in the future
This measure inevitably means higher taxes in the long the long run

in the long/short/medium term

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-termin the long/medium termin the short/medium term

it's a long story

(informal) used to say that the reasons for something are complicated and you would prefer not to give all the detailsit's a long story

the long and (the) short of it

used when you are telling someone the essential facts about something or what effect it will have, without explaining all the details
the long and short of itthe long and the short of it

the long arm of something

the power and/or authority of something
There is no escape from the long arm of the law.the long arm of

(pull, wear, etc.) a long face

(to have) an unhappy or disappointed expression
He took one look at her long face and said “What's wrong?”a long facepull, wear, etc. a long face

long in the tooth

(humorous) old or too old origin This originally referred to the fact that a horse's teeth appear to be longer as it grows older, because its gums shrink.long in the tooth

long on something

(informal) having a lot of a particular qualityThe government is long on ideas but short on performance.long on

a long shot

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.a long shot

long time no see

(informal) used to say hello to someone you have not seen for a long timelong time no see

not by a long shot

not nearly; not at all
It's not over yet—not by a long shot.not by a long shot

take a long (cool/hard) look at something

to consider a problem or possibility very carefully and without hurrying
We need to take a long hard look at all the options.take a long look attake a long cool look attake a long look attake a long hard look at

take the long view (of something)

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.take the long viewtake the long view of

to make a long story short

(informal) used when you are saying that you will get to the point of what you are saying quickly, without including all the detailsTo make a long story short, we didn't get home until 3 in the morning!to make a long story short