Language: Old English
Origin: long, lang


1 adjective
long1 S1 W1 comparative longer, superlative longest

great length

measuring a great length from one end to the other [≠ short]:
a long table
the longest tunnel in the world
He stretched out his long legs.
a long line of people

great distance

continuing or travelling a great distance from one place to another [≠ short]:
a long distance
Springfield is a long way from Chicago.
Liz lives in Cheltenham, which is a long way away.
long journey/walk/flight/drive etc (=a journey etc over a large distance that takes a lot of time)
It's a long walk to the shops from here.

large amount of time

continuing for a large amount of time, or for a larger amount of time than usual [≠ short]:
a long history of success
He has a long memory.
(for) a long time/while
He's been gone a long time.
I haven't been there for a long while.
It took a long time to get everything ready.
long silence/pause/delay etc
There was a long silence before anybody spoke.
She's recovering from a long illness.
Doctors often work long hours (=work for more time than is usual).
the longest time American English spoken (=a very long time)
It took me the longest time to figure out how to open the windows.

particular length/distance/time

used to talk or ask about a particular length, distance, or time:
How long is your garden?
How long is the film?
The cable is not quite long enough.
two metres/three miles etc long
The bridge is 140 feet long.
two hours/three days etc long
The speech was twenty minutes long.


containing a lot of words, letters, names, or pages [≠ short]:
a long novel
He has a very long name.
He owes money to a list of people as long as your arm (=a very long list).


DCC covering all of your arms or legs [≠ short]:
a long dress


spoken making you feel tired or bored:
It's been a long day.


technicalSL a long vowel in a word is pronounced for a longer time than a short vowel with the same sound [≠ short]

how long is a piece of string?

British English spoken used when there is no definite answer to a question:
'How long will it take to finish the project?' 'How long is a piece of string?'

the long and (the) short of it

spoken used when you are telling someone the most important facts about something rather than all the details:
The long and the short of it is that we missed the train.

the long arm of somebody/something

written the power of someone or something that has authority, especially to catch and punish someone:
He won't escape the long arm of the law.

long face

a sad or disappointed expression on someone's face

long in the tooth

informal too old - used humorously:
I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for this sort of thing.

not long for this world

literary likely to die or stop existing soon

long on something

having a lot of a quality:
He was short on patience, but long on a sense of his own worth.

long odds

if there are long odds against something happening, it is very unlikely that it will happen

in the long run/term

used when talking about what will happen at a later time or when something is finished:
All our hard work will be worth it in the long run.

long shot

someone or something with very little chance of success:
Chelsea are a 20-1 long shot to win the championship.

long time no see

spoken used humorously to say hello when you have not seen someone for a long time

take the long view (of something)

to think about the effect that something will have in the future rather than what happens now

a long way

very much, far, or a great amount or degree:
We're still a long way from achieving our sales targets.
Psychiatry has come a long way (=developed a lot) since the 1920s.
Your contributions will go a long way towards helping children in need (=will help to reach a goal).
by a long way/shot informal also by a long chalk British English (=used when something is much better, quicker, cheaper etc)
It was his best performance this year, by a long way.
not by a long way/shot informal also not by a long chalk British English (=not at all or not nearly)
He had not told Rory everything, not by a long shot.

long weekend

three or more days, including Saturday and Sunday, when you do not have to go to work or school

➔ at (long) last

at last3 (2)

; ➔ it's a long story

at story (10)

; ➔ cut/make a long story short

at story (11)

; ➔ a little (of something) goes a long way

at little2 (5)

; ➔ have a long way to go

at way1 (19)
continuing for a long time: lengthy

continuing for much too long: interminable, marathon, endless, long-winded, long-drawn-out, protracted

continuing for a long time and not changing: permanent, lasting, lifelong

when feelings last for a long time: lingering, abiding, enduring, lasting

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