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Long vs. Wide: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 7, 2023
"Long" refers to the greater dimension of something in terms of length, whereas "wide" refers to the breadth or extent from side to side.

Key Differences

"Long" denotes an extension in space resulting in a greater length, often measured from end to end. In contrast, "wide" describes the dimension across a space, giving it a broader appearance.
When referring to the word "long," it suggests something has considerable length, typically more than average or expected. "Wide," however, implies a certain breadth that makes something broad or expansive.
In usage, "long" might be used to describe timelines, objects, or distances that stretch considerably in one direction. "Wide" is often used to talk about spaces or objects that have a significant extent from one side to the other.
A "long" object or period can imply a measurement or duration that extends over a distance or time, such as a long road or a long wait. "Wide," however, often refers to the horizontal extent of something, like a wide table or a wide river.
The term "long" can also have a metaphorical sense, referring to a prolonged period or a desire for something. "Wide" can denote inclusivity or a range, such as a wide selection or wide acceptance.

Comparison Chart


Length, end to end
Breadth, side to side


Extensive in length
Broad in space

Common Usage

Distances, time
Measurements, spaces

Example Object

Long road
Wide river

Metaphorical Use

Long wait
Wide acceptance

Long and Wide Definitions


Lasting or taking a considerable amount of time.
He had a long career in medicine.


Encompassing a large number or variety of items.
The museum's collection was wide and varied.


Desiring something very much.
She longed for a chance to see the ocean.


Having a certain breadth or extent from side to side.
The bridge was built wide to accommodate more traffic.


Extending a great distance from end to end.
She walked a long path through the forest.


Fully open or extended.
He stood with arms wide open.


Far-reaching in extent or scope.
They had a long list of demands.


Inclusive or broad-ranging in scope.
The conference welcomed a wide range of opinions.


Involving a large number of items or units.
The grocery receipt was exceptionally long.


Off the mark or far from the intended target.
Her throw was wide of the mark.


Extending or traveling a relatively great distance.


Having a specified extent from side to side
A ribbon two inches wide.


Having relatively great height; tall.


Extending over a great distance from side to side; broad
A wide road.
A wide necktie.


How do you measure how "long" something is?

By measuring its length from one end to the other.

Can "long" be used metaphorically?

Yes, such as in "a long-awaited reunion."

What is a "long" book?

A book with many pages or extensive content.

What does "long" mean?

It means extending far in distance or time.

Is "wide" used for time?

No, "wide" typically describes spatial breadth.

Can "wide" be used metaphorically?

Yes, like in "wide-ranging implications."

What is a synonym for "long"?

Extended, prolonged, or elongated.

Can "long" refer to time?

Yes, it can describe a considerable amount of time.

What is a "wide" street?

A street that is broad from one sidewalk to the other.

Does "long" have a positive or negative connotation?

It's neutral, but context can affect its connotation.

What does "wide" mean?

It refers to something broad or extensive in breadth.

Are there idioms that use "wide"?

Yes, like "wide off the mark" or "wide awake."

Does "wide" have a positive or negative connotation?

Like "long," it's neutral and context-dependent.

Can a room be both "long" and "wide"?

Yes, if it extends significantly in both dimensions.

How do "long" and "wide" relate to "high"?

They describe different dimensions; "high" refers to vertical extent.

How do you measure how "wide" something is?

By measuring its breadth from side to side.

What is a synonym for "wide"?

Broad, expansive, or extensive.

Can "long" describe emotions?

Yes, as in "longing" for something.

Is "wide" used in technology?

Yes, in terms like "wide-screen" or "wide-angle."

Are there idioms that use "long"?

Yes, such as "a long shot" or "in the long run."
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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