lon·​gueur | \ lȯŋ-ˈgər How to pronounce longueur (audio) , lōⁿ-ˈgœr How to pronounce longueur (audio) \
plural longueurs\ lȯŋ-​ˈgərz How to pronounce longueur (audio) , lōⁿ-​ˈgœr(z) \

Definition of longueur

: a dull and tedious portion (as of a book) usually used in plural

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Did You Know?

You've probably come across long, tedious sections of books, plays, or musical works before, but perhaps you didn't know there was a word for them. English speakers began using the French borrowing longueurs in the late 18th century. In French, "longueurs" are tedious passages, and "longueur" literally means "length." The first recorded use of "longueur" in English comes from the writer Horace Walpole, who wrote in a letter, "Boswell's book is gossiping;. . . but there are woful longueurs, both about his hero and himself."

Examples of longueur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like that Chopin ballade, a good routine has light and shade, fast sections and longueurs. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Challenge of Comedy Without an Audience," 8 Apr. 2020 This enthusiasm is a blessing for the longueurs to come, as one by one the cast spins out the inscrutable tale of the annual Jellicle Ball, when all the street cats of London convene to dance and sing. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, "The Slog Comes in on Little Cat Feet," 4 Jan. 2020 Sitting through the longueurs of Simon’s book shouldn’t have to be the penitential price for our enjoyment of the musical portion of the show. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "'Sweet Charity' from Reprise: The dancing never gets old, but the book could use a nip and tuck," 23 June 2018 And even with its longueurs, the book is full of wonder. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "With ‘La Belle Sauvage,’ Philip Pullman Begins a New Trilogy," 18 Oct. 2017 Fortunately, the novel’s exciting ending helps to compensate for its longueurs. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "The Best New Fiction," 29 Sep. 2017 A lot of the material is thus delivered semi-impromptu, with all the stutters and longueurs that entails. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Michael Moore, Bragging on Broadway, in ‘The Terms of My Surrender’," 10 Aug. 2017 Running at about two and a half hours, An Octoroon retains The Octoroon's plot contrivances, and stretches that should resonate viscerally—including a stark reminder of real-life unspeakable evil—have dampened impact as a result of its longueurs. Dan Jakes, Chicago Reader, "Definition Theatre’s An Octoroon boldly subverts, in white-, red-, and blackface," 2 Aug. 2017 Departure might be further impelled by the production’s longueurs as Arden and his actors mistake non-expression for ’50s-era British reserve. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Where's 'The Pride' in love? The way we've pursued it then and now," 15 June 2017

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

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First Known Use of longueur

1791, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for longueur

French, literally, length

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The first known use of longueur was in 1791

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Cite this Entry

“Longueur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/longueur. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of longueur

literary : a boring part of something (such as a book or play)

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