length (lĕngkth, lĕngth, lĕnth)
1. The state, quality, or fact of being long. See Usage Note at strength.
2. The measurement of the extent of something along its greatest dimension: the length of the boat.
3. A piece, often of a standard size, that is normally measured along its greatest dimension: a length of cloth.
4. A measure used as a unit to estimate distances: won the race by a length.
5. Extent or distance from beginning to end: the length of a novel; the length of a journey.
6. The amount of time between specified moments; the duration: the length of a meeting.
7. often lengths Extent or degree to which an action or policy is carried: went to great lengths to prove his point.
a. The duration of a vowel.
b. The duration of a syllable.
9. The vertical extent of a garment. Often used in combination: knee-length; floor-length.
1. After some time; eventually: At length we arrived at our destination.
2. For a considerable time; fully: spoke at length about the court ruling.
[Middle English, from Old English lengthu; see del-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.