Length vs Width – Difference Between Length and Width

Length vs Width – Difference Between Length and Width

Length is typically used to describe how long something is whereas width is used to describe how wide something is. Length is always the longest measurement whereas width is always the shortest measurement. You can also use length to measure a period of time that has elapsed.

In elementary school, pupils are often taught about the difference between length and width using the explanation that the length of an object is exclusively the longest while the width is the shorter plane.

However, some scholars argue that the length of a figure is simply the height of the figure in alignment with a vertical plane while the width of a figure is the breadth in alignment with a horizontal plane, meaning that we can’t determine length vs width based purely on measurement size alone.

Due to this difference of opinion shared by some scholars, we’re going to focus on the traditional definition of length vs width over the course of today’s post to make it as easy as possible for you to understand the variations between them.

Definition of Length – What Does Length Mean?

The definition of length is: “The measurement of an object or physical space from one end or extremity to the other end or extremity, or the amount of time that has been occupied by something.”

To summarize, length effectively would be to say that it is a fundamental one-dimensional unit that describes the longest geometric measurement of an object from one end to the other. It is used to quantify distance from one end point to another and is the lengthiest in the three dimensions of a figure. The difference between length and width largely revolves around the size difference of each measurement and the perspective that each measurement occurs from.

Width is usually measured from left to right whereas length is usually measured from front to back or “end to end.” This is why people get confused when trying to form a summary of length vs width vs height because many people believe that length and height are the same, but height is exclusively measured vertically from top to bottom only.

It’s worth noting that the above is only true when we’re observing a conventionally shaped object. If you’re looking at an oblong, for instance, then you’d measure length from left to right instead because the longest edges are the sides as opposed to the top and bottom (or front and back).

To easily separate width and length, just remember that all you need to do is look for the longest distance on the object from edge to edge to determine which aspect is the length.

This term originated from the Germans and was later adopted by the English. Since then, it has been used to describe the biggest distance from point A to B. Virtually every object and body has a length, but in the confinement of a classroom, students are mostly taught about this measurement using a definite shape.

Here are some examples to further illustrate the difference between width and length with the use of solid shapes. The first example that readily comes to mind is the square.

It has four equal sides, which means that there is no particular side that is greater than the other and that can be defined as the length or the width. To make things simpler, all the sides of a square are referred to as the length. This is because we can’t determine any separation between width and length due to there being no longest side in this instance.

A rectangle is a better example. It has four sides, but they are not all the same length. The horizontal sides are longer than the vertical sides, which means that the horizontal sides constitute the length and the vertical sides constitute the width of the shape, giving us clear parameters to compare width vs length.

Definition of Width – What Does Width Mean?

The definition of width is: “The measurement of an object or physical space from side to side and the shortest of the three main dimensions (length vs width vs height).”

Width is summarized as a fundamental one-dimensional unit that describes the geometric measurement of an element from side to side. Note that in this case, the measurement is from side to side as opposed to comparing width vs length where the latter is measured from end to end. In other words, this term can also be defined as the shortest side of an object or body in comparison to a certain length.

This concept is more focused on the intensity of a figure, which defines how broad an entity is. It is one of the earliest known measurements used by the people of Egypt, Elam, the Indus Valley, and Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC. It has remained in use until this day in solving mathematical problems and remains a vital metric used to create an effective summary of the composition or size of an object.

The distance from one side of a door to the other is a good example of this concept. If it is a regular door, then it is a rectangular plane with a height that is longer than the breadth. A triangle has three sides, the shortest of which is the width.

What Is Main the Difference Between Width and Length?

In this section, we will make a length vs. width comparison to show how these two are different from each other in clearer terms.

Basis of ComparisonLengthWidth
DefinitionA fundamental one-dimensional unit that describes the longest geometric measurement of an object from one end to the otherA fundamental one-dimensional unit that describes the geometric measurement of an object from side to side
DeterminesHow long an object or a body measuresHow wide an object measures
PlaneUsually verticalUsually horizontal
SizeThe longest measurementThe shortest measurement
Can be used to measure time?YesNo
Word associationsLongThick

We’ll also now provide you with an FAQ featuring the most commonly asked questions about the length versus width comparison to make it as easy as possible for you to separate the two with ease from now on.

Length and Width Difference – FAQ

Here are the most common questions about the length and width difference:

So, are length and width the same?

No, length and width are not the same. Length is the longest measurement of an object or space and measures the longest two edges, whereas width is the shortest measurement and typically measures the shortest two edges.

When you’re looking at a transistor, what is the difference between length and width?

Though some transistors feature channel widths that are longer than their length, it’s commonly accepted as per any other object that the length of a transistor is the longest distance from end to end whereas the width is the shortest distance from edge to edge.

What is the difference between width and length adjectives?

The adjectives for width and length are wide and long.

So What Length and Width Is? – Conclusion

In the width vs. length comparison, in summary, it is obvious that the longest side that forms a right angle is usually referred to as the latter, while the shortest side that forms a right angle is defined as the former. These measures are applied in our daily life, and they form fundamental parts of most mathematical formulas.

The easiest way to summarize them with a quick sentence is to say that length is long, and width is thick. We hope that after today’s post, you now finally feel like you have a full understanding of these two key measurement metrics.