noun \ ˈleŋ(k)th , ˈlen(t)th \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of length

plural lengths play \ˈleŋ(k)ths, ˈlen(t)ths, ˈleŋ(k)s\
1 a : the longer or longest dimension of an object
b : a measured distance or dimension
  • 10 feet in length
— see Metric System Table, Weights and Measures Table
c : the quality or state of being long
  • the length of the journey
2 a : duration or extent in time
b : relative duration or stress of a sound (such as a vowel or syllable in prose or a note in music)
3 a : distance or extent in space
  • a street with its length of colonial houses
b : the length of something taken as a unit of measure
  • his horse led by a length
4 : the degree to which something (such as a course of action or a line of thought) is carried often used in plural
  • went to great lengths to learn the truth
5 a : a long expanse or stretch
  • her lengths of lustrous hair
b : a piece constituting or usable as part of a whole or of a connected series : section
  • a length of pipe
6 : the longer or vertical dimension of a piece of clothing often used in combination
  • elbow-length sleeves
at length
1 : fully, comprehensively
  • The issue was debated at length.
2 : at last : finally
  • We at length reached the top of the mountain.

Examples of length in a Sentence

  1. The length of the table is six feet, and its width is three feet.

  2. These pins are available in one- and two-inch lengths.

  3. The adult animals reach a maximum length of two meters.

  4. Your essay should be no more than 250 words in length.

  5. the length of a movie

  6. They were two car lengths behind us.

Recent Examples of length from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'length.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of length

Middle English lengthe, from Old English lengthu, from lang long

Other Weights and Measures Terms

LENGTH Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of length for English Language Learners

  • : the distance from one end of something to the other end : a measurement of how long something is

  • : the size or extent of a piece of writing

  • : the quality or state of being long

LENGTH Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈleŋth \

Definition of length for Students

1 : the measured distance from one end to the other of the longer or longest side of an object
2 : a measured distance
  • The road is three miles in length.
3 : the amount of time something takes
  • The movie is two hours in length.
4 : a piece of something that is long
  • She bought a length of pipe.
5 : the distance from top to bottom of an article of clothing
  • knee-length pants
6 : the sound of a vowel or syllable as it is affected by the time needed to pronounce it
at length
1 : very fully
  • We discussed the problem at length.
2 : at the end : finally They decided at length to order pizza.

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excessive admiration or flattery

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