- 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 100 cm. 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 time
- 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). Size of pension depends partly on length of service with the company. Each class is 45 minutes in length. of book/movie
- 3 [uncountable, countable] the amount of writing in a book, or a document, etc.; the amount of time that a film/movie lasts Her novels vary in length. See related entries: Film reviews and promotion -length
- 4(in adjectives) having the length mentioned shoulder-length hair see also full-length, knee-length of swimming pool
- 5[countable] the distance from one end of a swimming pool to the other He swims 50 lengths a day. compare width Wordfinderarmband, dive, flipper, float, goggles, length, paddle, stroke, swim, water wings See related entries: Athletics, Swimming in race
- 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 clear lengths. See related entries: Equine sports long thin piece
- 7[countable] a long thin piece of something a length of rope/string/wire timber sold in lengths of 2, 5 or 10 metres see also longWord Familylong adjective adverblength nounlengthy adjectivelengthen verb Word Origin Old English lengthu, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lengte, also to long (adjective).Extra examples Each lesson was an hour in length. He has to hold newspapers at arm’s length to focus on the print. He measured the length and width of the table. He told me at length about his new job. I did 20 lengths today. Measure the size of the window and cut the cloth to length. She kept him at arm’s length until he stopped smoking. The fence runs the length of the footpath. The pipe was six feet in length. The queen bee is twice the length of a worker bee. The queue stretched the whole length of the High Street. The vehicle has an overall length of 12 feet. There is a maximum length of 2 500 words. There were coloured lights along the whole length of the street. These fish can reach a length of over five feet. They complained about the inordinate length of time they had to wait. a ditch of great length and width a short length of wire long lengths of wool Carry a whistle and a spare length of rope. He ran the entire length of the beach. The pipe was attached to the wall with a length of wire The river is 300 miles in length. The snake usually reaches a length of 100 cm. The timber is sold in lengths of 2, 5 or 10 metres.Idioms
- 1for a long time and in detail He quoted at length from the report. We have already discussed this matter at great length.
- 2(literary) after a long time ‘I'm still not sure,’ he said at length.