Difference Wiki

Breadth vs. Width: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on November 18, 2023
"Breadth" refers to the extent of something from side to side, often implying comprehensiveness, while "Width" specifically denotes the measurement of how wide something is.

Key Differences

"Breadth" and "Width" both refer to the distance from one side of something to the other. However, "Breadth" often conveys a figurative sense, encompassing the idea of vastness or comprehensiveness, while "Width" is a specific term used to describe the exact measurement of this distance.
"Breadth" is used in a more abstract manner, often applied to intangible things. For instance, one might discuss the "breadth of knowledge" or "breadth of experience," which doesn't involve physical dimensions. "Width," however, is used in a more literal sense, such as the "width of a table" or "width of a road."
"Breadth" can imply a wide range or variety within a non-physical context, emphasizing the idea of inclusiveness or expansiveness, whereas "Width" refers to a linear distance between two sides of an object, not suggesting any qualitative aspect.
"Breadth" is also used when the context doesn't require precise measurements but indicates something broad or wide-ranging. It's more about the general perception of space or range. On the other hand, "Width" is used when the exact or approximate measurements matter, focusing on specificity.
While "Breadth" and "Width" might seem interchangeable in casual conversation when referring to physical dimensions, their connotations differ. "Breadth" suggests a greater, more abstract expanse, while "Width" is firmly rooted in the tangible and measurable.

Comparison Chart


Comprehensiveness, often figurative
Specific measurement, usually literal


Abstract or general
Physical or precise


Used for intangible and tangible concepts
Primarily used for tangible concepts


Not necessarily exact
Concerned with exactness


Suggests range or variety, qualitative aspect
Indicates distance, quantitative

Breadth and Width Definitions


Comprehensive quality or range of something.
The curriculum offers breadth and depth.


The sideways extent of a swimming pool from one side to the other.
He swam the width of the pool.


Wide range or extent.
Her breadth of experience makes her a great leader.


A piece of something at its full extent from side to side.
A width of cloth was laid out.


Freedom from narrowness or restraint.
The breadth of his understanding was impressive.


The measurement or extent of something from side to side.
The width of the desk is 50 inches.


The measure or dimension from side to side; width.


A specific distance from one side to the other of a standard measure.
The road was reduced to a single car's width.


A piece usually produced in a standard width
A breadth of canvas.


The state, quality, or fact of being wide.


Wide range or scope
Breadth of knowledge.


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


Tolerance; broadmindedness
A jurist of great breadth and wisdom.


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


An effect of unified, encompassing vision in an artistic composition.


The state of being wide.


The extent or measure of how broad or wide something is.
The breadth of the corridor is 4.5 metres.


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


A piece of fabric of standard width.


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


Scope or range, especially of knowledge or skill.
Expand one's breadth of marketing


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


(arts) A style in painting in which details are strictly subordinated to the harmony of the whole composition.


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


(graph theory) The length of the longest path between two vertices in a graph.


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


Distance from side to side of any surface or thing; measure across, or at right angles to the length; width.
Breadth of coloring is a prominent character in the painting of all great masters.


The extent of something from side to side


An ability to understand a broad range of topics;
A teacher must have a breadth of knowledge of the subject


The extent of a person's body from one side to the other, usually shoulders.
The jacket was too tight around his width.


The extent of something from side to side


The distance or measurement from side to side of something.
The river had a surprising breadth at this point.


The aspect or quality of being broad or wide.
The breadth of the plains was breathtaking.


Can "Breadth" imply diversity?

Yes, such as in a "breadth of experience."

Can "Breadth" and "Width" be used interchangeably?

They can in certain contexts referring to physical dimensions, but "Breadth" often has more abstract connotations.

Does "Width" refer to exact measurements?

Generally, yes, it's used to specify a particular distance side to side.

Is "Breadth" more abstract?

Yes, it often refers to conceptual range or extent.

Does "Width" relate to size?

Specifically, to the side-to-side measurement of something.

Is "Breadth" a formal term?

It's not necessarily formal but can be seen as more academic.

Can "Breadth" mean variety?

Yes, it can imply a wide range or variety.

Is "Width" used in daily conversation?

Yes, especially when referring to the measurements of objects.

Can "Breadth" mean openness?

In a metaphorical sense, it can imply openness or expansiveness of understanding.

Is "Width" physical?

Yes, it usually refers to physical dimensions.

Is "Width" used in construction?

Frequently, for measurements.

Does "Breadth" refer to knowledge?

It can, indicating the extent or comprehensiveness of knowledge.

Can "Width" measure space?

Yes, the side-to-side space of an object.

Can "Width" be used for fabric?

Yes, as in a "width of cloth."

Is "Breadth" philosophical?

It can be used in philosophical contexts to discuss broad concepts.

Does "Width" have a standard measure?

It refers to any specific measurement, not a standard one.

Does "Breadth" imply depth?

Not directly, but it suggests a comprehensive range which might include depth.

Can "Breadth" relate to vision?

Metaphorically, as in a broad or wide-ranging vision.

Is "Width" applicable to roads?

Yes, to describe how wide they are.

Can "Breadth" indicate freedom?

Figuratively, it can suggest freedom from narrowness.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons