# Length vs. Width — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 18, 2023
"Length" refers to the extent of something from end to end, often the longer dimension, while "Width" denotes the measurement from side to side, typically the shorter dimension.

## Key Differences

"Length" and "Width" are fundamental terms used to describe the dimensions of an object. While "Length" typically represents the longer extent of an object, "Width" usually refers to the shorter, side-to-side measurement.
In many contexts, especially rectangular shapes, "Length" is understood as the greater of the two primary measurements, extending from one point to another. Conversely, "Width" is perceived as the distance across, which might be smaller.
The orientation can define both "Length" and "Width." For instance, when describing a room, the "Length" could be the measurement from the entrance to the back wall, while the "Width" might be the measurement from one sidewall to the other.
In specific scenarios, the differentiation between "Length" and "Width" can become subjective, especially with more irregular shapes. However, the general rule remains: "Length" is the longer dimension, and "Width" is the shorter one.
It's important to note that "Length" and "Width" are just two of the dimensions we use to describe objects. For three-dimensional objects, height or depth would be another vital measurement.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Extent from end to end
Measurement from side to side

### Typical Dimension

Often the longer dimension
Typically the shorter dimension

### Orientation

Can be horizontal or vertical based on context
Mostly horizontal

### Usage

Common for linear objects like roads, ropes
Often for broader surfaces, like papers, rooms

### Relation

Can exist without width (like a line's length)
Generally exists with length, especially in rectangular objects

## Compare with Definitions

#### Length

A piece of something measured along its greatest dimension.
They cut a Length of rope to tie the boxes.

#### Width

The measurement of an object from side to side.
The Width of the paper is 8.5 inches.

#### Length

Length is a measure of distance. In the International System of Quantities, length is a quantity with dimension distance.

#### Width

The extent across something.
The road's Width accommodated two cars side by side.

#### Length

The measurement or extent of something from end to end; the greater of two or the greatest of three dimensions of an object
The fish reaches a length of 10 inches
The delta is twenty kilometres in length

#### Width

The horizontal measurement of an object.
She checked the Width of the fabric before purchasing.

#### Length

The amount of time occupied by something
Delivery must be within a reasonable length of time

#### Width

The measurement or extent of something from side to side; the lesser of two or the least of three dimensions of a body
The yard was about seven feet in width

#### Length

A piece or stretch of something
The surviving length of track
A length of brown satin

#### Width

Wide range or extent
The width of experience required for these positions

#### Length

An extreme to which a course of action is taken
They go to great lengths to avoid the press

#### Width

The state, quality, or fact of being wide.

#### Length

The distance from the batsman at which a well-bowled ball pitches
Lewis tended to bowl short of a length

#### Width

Abbr. w The measurement of the extent of something from side to side.

#### Length

(in bridge or whist) the number of cards of a suit held in one's hand, especially when five or more
To open one heart with equal length in hearts and spades is in the modern Acol style

#### Width

A piece of material measured along its smaller dimension or its crosswise grain, especially a piece of fabric measured from selvage to selvage.

#### Length

The state, quality, or fact of being long. See Usage Note at strength.

#### Width

The state of being wide.

#### Length

The measurement of the extent of something along its greatest dimension
The length of the boat.

#### Width

The measurement of the extent of something from side to side.

#### Length

A piece, often of a standard size, that is normally measured along its greatest dimension
A length of cloth.

#### Width

A piece of material measured along its smaller dimension, especially fabric.

#### Length

A measure used as a unit to estimate distances
Won the race by a length.

#### Width

(cricket) The horizontal distance between a batsman and the ball as it passes him.

#### Length

Extent or distance from beginning to end
The length of a novel.
The length of a journey.

#### Width

(sports) The use of all the width of the pitch, from one side to the other.
Manchester United like to play with width.

#### Length

The amount of time between specified moments; the duration
The length of a meeting.

#### Width

The quality of being wide; extent from side to side; breadth; wideness; as, the width of cloth; the width of a door.

#### Length

Often lengths Extent or degree to which an action or policy is carried
Went to great lengths to prove his point.

#### Width

The extent of something from side to side

#### Length

The duration of a vowel.

#### Width

Broadness or wideness of an object.
The river's Width made it challenging to cross.

#### Length

The duration of a syllable.

#### Width

The measurement of something's shorter side.
The Width of the rectangle was half its length.

#### Length

The vertical extent of a garment. Often used in combination
Knee-length.
Floor-length.

#### Length

The distance measured along the longest dimension of an object.

Duration.

#### Length

(horse racing) The length of a horse, used to indicate the distance between horses at the end of a race.

#### Length

(mathematics) Distance between the two ends of a line segment.

#### Length

(cricket) The distance down the pitch that the ball bounces on its way to the batsman.

#### Length

(figuratively) Total extent.
The length of a book

#### Length

Part of something that is long; a physical piece of something.
A length of rope

#### Length

(theatre) A unit of script length, comprising 42 lines.

#### Length

(bridge) The number of cards held in a particular suit.

#### Length

(obsolete) To lengthen.

#### Length

The longest, or longer, dimension of any object, in distinction from breadth or width; extent of anything from end to end; the longest line which can be drawn through a body, parallel to its sides; as, the length of a church, or of a ship; the length of a rope or line.

#### Length

A portion of space or of time considered as measured by its length; - often in the plural.
Large lengths of seas and shores.
The future but a length behind the past.

#### Length

The quality or state of being long, in space or time; extent; duration; as, some sea birds are remarkable for the length of their wings; he was tired by the length of the sermon, and the length of his walk.

#### Length

A single piece or subdivision of a series, or of a number of long pieces which may be connected together; as, a length of pipe; a length of fence.

#### Length

Detail or amplification; unfolding; continuance as, to pursue a subject to a great length.
May Heaven, great monarch, still augment your blissWith length of days, and every day like this.

#### Length

Distance.
He had marched to the length of Exeter.

To lengthen.

#### Length

The linear extent in space from one end to the other; the longest horizontal dimension of something that is fixed in place;
The length of the table was 5 feet

#### Length

Continuance in time;
The ceremony was of short duration
He complained about the length of time required

#### Length

The property of being the extent of something from beginning to end;
The editor limited the length of my article to 500 words

#### Length

Size of the gap between two places;
The distance from New York to Chicago
He determined the length of the shortest line segment joining the two points

#### Length

A section of something that is long and narrow;
A length of timber
A length of tubing

#### Length

The extent of something from end to end.
The Length of the room is 20 feet.

#### Length

Measurement of an object's longest side.
The Length of the table outstripped its width.

#### Length

Continuance in time.
The Length of the movie was three hours.

#### Length

The degree to which something is long.
She was surprised by the Length of the scarf.

## Common Curiosities

#### Can an object have a "Length" but no "Width"?

Conceptually, a line has "Length" but no "Width" or height.

#### Can "Length" ever be shorter than "Width"?

In most contexts, "Length" is the longer dimension, but the terms can be subjective based on orientation and use.

#### Is "Width" always horizontal?

Typically, yes. "Width" usually denotes a horizontal measurement, but context matters.

#### Are "Length" and "Width" used only for rectangular objects?

No, they can describe any object, but their differentiation is clearest with rectangles.

#### Does a square have equal "Length" and "Width"?

Yes, in a square, the "Length" and "Width" are the same.

#### Can the terms be interchangeable?

They refer to different dimensions and aren't typically interchangeable, but context can affect their use.

#### How are "Length" and "Width" related to "Depth"?

For three-dimensional objects, "Length" and "Width" define the base, while "Depth" or height adds the third dimension.

#### In which units is "Length" commonly measured?

"Length" can be in meters, feet, miles, kilometers, etc., depending on the context.

#### What's the "Width" of a standard piece of paper?

In the U.S., the "Width" of standard letter paper is 8.5 inches.

#### How can I remember the difference between "Length" and "Width"?

Think of "Length" as the longer dimension and "Width" as side-to-side or across.

#### Can "Width" describe the broadness of abstract concepts?

Yes, like "the width of his experience" suggests a broad experience.

#### Can "Length" refer to time?

Yes, "Length" can describe the duration of an event, like a film's length.

#### Why are these measurements important?

Understanding "Length" and "Width" helps in various fields, from construction to art, ensuring accurate descriptions and creations.

#### Is "Width" the same as "Breadth"?

They're similar, but "Breadth" can also mean comprehensiveness in scope.

#### How is "Length" used in sports?

In swimming, a "Length" often refers to one traversal of the pool.

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