long1 S1 W1 comparative longer, superlative longest
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
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.
continuing for a large amount of time, or for a larger amount of time than usual [≠ short]:
large amount of time
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.
She died a long time ago.
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.
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).
covering all of your arms or legs [≠ short]:
a long dress
a long-sleeved shirt
making you feel tired or bored:
It's been a long day.
a long vowel in a word is pronounced for a longer time than a short vowel with the same sound [≠ short]
9 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?'
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 power of someone or something that has authority, especially to catch and punish someone:
He won't escape the long arm of the law.
a sad or disappointed expression on someone's face
too old - used humorously:
I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for this sort of thing.
likely to die or stop existing soon
having a lot of a quality:
He was short on patience, but long on a sense of his own worth.
if there are long odds against something happening, it is very unlikely that it will happen
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.
someone or something with very little chance of success:
Chelsea are a 20-1 long shot to win the championship.
used humorously to say hello when you have not seen someone for a long time
to think about the effect that something will have in the future rather than what happens now
very much, far, or a great amount or degree:
a long way
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.
three or more days, including Saturday and Sunday, when you do not have to go to work or school
➔ at (long) lastat last3 (2)
; ➔ it's a long storyat story (10)
; ➔ cut/make a long story shortat story (11)
; ➔ a little (of something) goes a long wayat little2 (5)
; ➔ have a long way to goat way1 (19)WORD FOCUS: long
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