1. variable noun [oft with poss]
The length of something is the amount that it measures from one end to the other along the longest side. ⇒ It is about a metre in length. [+ of] ⇒ ...the length of the fish. [+ of] ⇒ The plane had a wing span of 34ft and a length of 22ft.
2. variable noun [oft with poss] The length of something such as a piece of writing is the amount of writing that is contained in it. ⇒ ...a book of at least 100 pages in length. ⇒ The length of a paragraph depends on the information it conveys. 3. variable noun [oft with poss] The length of an event, activity, or situation is the period of time from beginning to end for which something lasts or during which something happens. [+ of] ⇒ The exact length of each period may vary. ⇒ His film, over two hours in length, is a subtle study of family life. 4. countable noun A length of rope, cloth, wood, or other material is a piece of it that is intended to be used for a particular purpose or that exists in a particular situation. [+ of] ⇒ ...a 30ft length of rope. [+ of] ⇒ You can hang lengths of fabric behind the glass. 5. uncountable noun
The length of something is its quality of being long. [+ of] ⇒ Many have been surprised at the length of time it has taken him to make up his mind. [+ of] ⇒ I noticed, too, the length of her fingers.
6. countable noun If you swim a length in a swimming pool, you swim the distance from one end to the other. ⇒ I swim 40 lengths a day. 7. countable noun In boat racing or horse racing, a length is the distance from the front to the back of the boat or horse. You can talk about one boat or horse being one or more lengths in front of or behind another. ⇒ Harvard won by four lengths. 8. singular noun If something happens or exists along the length of something, it happens or exists for the whole way along it. [+ of] ⇒ I looked along the length of the building. [+ of] ⇒ The inspiration stemming from his travels lasted the length of his career.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers