Length Vs Width: What Is The Difference Between Them?

length vs width

“Length” vs. “width,” have you ever gotten these terms confused? Perhaps, you might be tired of listening to your Geometry or Physics teacher talk about them all the time and making you calculate them. But, are you clear on how to use “length” and “width” and their meaning? If your answer is no, it is okay. This article is intended to provide you with some clarity to know the difference between them.

When it comes to measurements, “length” is used to describe how long an object is. Additionally, it is used to refer to the longest area or distance. “Width” is used to describe how wide something is. Moreover, it refers to the largest or smallest side.

These terms are commonly confused due to their similarities in terminology. Also, in some aspects, the width can refer to the longest measure and not the length. To help you understand and be more explicit about the difference between both terms, it is essential that you know the different definitions for both and in what context to use them.

length word in dictionary

What Is The Meaning Of Length?

“Length” has different meanings depending on the context that is being used. If you talk about the length of a triangle, it will not be the same as if you were talking about the length of that Geometry course you’ll take next summer. Length according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary can mean the following:

  • The longest or longer side of an object.
  • A dimension or measured distance.
  • The state, quality, or condition of being long.
  • Extent or duration in time.
  • A long stretch or distance.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, when we are using the term “length,” we can be referring to the following:

  • The measurement or distance from end to end of something.
  • A piece of an object or thing.
  • The duration of something.
  • The amount of time lasted, invested, or required.

Synonyms For Length

Knowing the synonyms for words is very useful when writing a research paper, an article, or just trying to be clear and eloquent during a conversation. Below you will find some synonyms that you can use if you want to refer to “length”:

  • Extent
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Period
  • Dimension
  • Stretch
  • Range
  • Spread 

Examples Of “Length” Used In Sentences

Here you will find sentences in which the word “length” is being used:

  1. When a film is based on a book, I prefer to read the book first and then watch the film; usually, the movie’s length does not cover all the book’s details.
  2. What is the length of the master’s degree you are taking next year? Maybe we can do the internship in the same city.
  3. The length of the kitchen table is five feet, and the glass is seven feet; we will need to cut the glass to match the table’s length.
  4. I will start drinking some vitamins for my hair; the length has been the same for over a year.
  5. Joseph is training to win the nationals; he swims 30 lengths daily.
  6. In summer, my family likes to go camping, and we boat ride the whole length of the lake.
  7. Mountains in the Dominican Republic stretch the entire length of the north side.
  8. There was an accident involving an airplane crash. The impact reduced the airplane to a fourth of its original length.
  9. I don’t particularly appreciate going to debate sessions. The length of each participant’s speech makes it dull.
  10. Jane Marie held Susan at arm’s length to comfort her after receiving the news of her dad passing away.
  11. I am not good at math problems and geometry, but I am completely sure that the result of calculating the length and width of that triangle is not five.
  12. My article was returned because I didn’t meet the length requirement nor the character count.
  13. The few times I post on my blog, I like to make sure that the article’s length doesn’t surpass 600 words; I put myself in my audience’s shoes. Anything other than that can be boring or exhausting to read.
  14. My husband bought a new shirt, but the sleeves’ length doesn’t look the same.
  15. If you see my sister and me, you couldn’t determine our age just by looking at our length.

What Is The Meaning Of Width?

When defining the term width, it can typically be confused with the meanings we find for the term length. Here are some definitions provided by the Merriam-Webster and the Cambridge dictionary:

  • A cut and measured piece of material.
  • The horizontal measure taken at right angles to the length side.
  • The distance from one side to the other.
  • Vast extent or range.
  • The most significant and most minor dimension.

Keep in mind that the width, also known as the breadth, is usually measured from left to right. It is also the horizontal and shorter side that describes how wide an object is.

Synonyms For Width

When trying to refer to the term width, here are some words that you can use that have the same meaning: 

  • Breadth, 
  • Broadness
  • Thickness
  • Spread
  • Diameter
  • Range
  • Scope
  • Extent
  • Extensiveness
  • Vastness
  • Amplitude

meassuring tape

Examples Of “Width” Used In Sentences

Here you will find sentences in which the word width is being used:

  1. I told my husband to measure the width of our current refrigerator to have the exact measurements needed for the new fridge, but he forgot, and now the refrigerator he bought doesn’t fit.
  2. The shoes that you want are available in two widths.
  3. Susan explained this week’s math homework and said the answer for problem B, section two, varies in width by 20 feet.
  4. The width of the director’s statue is 2 m.
  5. Were you able to calculate the width of the rectangle? 
  6. The width of urban roads is usually 42 ft. or less, depending on the city and their parking slots.
  7. The lake’s width at this point is quite impressive, so you have to be careful if you are going to swim.
  8. How can you measure the width of a pencil’s eraser?
  9. Before you buy your Christmas tree, you need to measure the width of the wood to check if it is going to fit in your living room.
  10. I can’t hold my breath if I swim four widths underwater.
  11. The math teacher constantly reminds us how to calculate the width, and we don’t seem to understand.
  12. The width of the slit may be easy to measure if you know how to do it.
  13. If you multiply the height by the width of a rectangle, you will get the value for the area.


In conclusion, “length” and “width” are not the same. Both measurements are essential, but keep in mind some key definitions to distinguish them. “Length” is the longest distance from end to end, while “width” is measured from side to side. “Width” is the shortest side of an object, while “ length” is the longest dimension. “Length” explains how extended in size an object is, and “width” is how intensive or profound a thing is.

In Geometry, “length” represents the most prominent side of a figure, and “width” is the smallest. In a plane, the length is usually vertical, while the width is horizontal. You can’t use “width” to measure time, but you can use “length” for it. The unit for both length and width is a meter. If you want to compare humans, the appropriate term to be utilized is “length.”

If you keep in mind these details, it will help you pass your future Geometry test, and you will know how to use the appropriate terms in the proper context.

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By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.