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[lengk-thee, leng-, len-] /ˈlɛŋk θi, ˈlɛŋ-, ˈlɛn-/
adjective, lengthier, lengthiest.
having or being of great length; very long:
a lengthy journey.
tediously verbose; very long; too long:
a lengthy speech.
Origin of lengthy
1680-90, Americanism; length + -y1
Related forms
lengthily, adverb
lengthiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lengthy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Father likes him very much and they have lengthy arguments in the study, evenings.

    Mavis of Green Hill Faith Baldwin
  • The description of Ranelagh (in the chapter on Music) is too lengthy to reproduce.

  • These two items alone make it ruinous for the owners to let the building stand idle for any lengthy period.

    The Theory of the Theatre Clayton Hamilton
  • And he had written a lengthy epistle on the state of Ireland.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • After a lengthy period of peace there usually arises a craving for battle.

    Essays in Rebellion Henry W. Nevinson
British Dictionary definitions for lengthy


/ˈlɛŋkθɪ; ˈlɛŋθɪ/
adjective lengthier, lengthiest
of relatively great or tiresome extent or duration
Derived Forms
lengthily, adverb
lengthiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lengthy

1759, American English, from length + -y (2). Until c.1840 always characterized in British English as an Americanism.

This word has been very common among us, both in writing and in the language of conversation; but it has been so much ridiculed by Americans as well as Englishmen, that in writing it is now generally avoided. Mr. Webster has admitted it into his dictionary; but as need hardly be remarked it is not in any of the English ones. It is applied by us, as Mr. Webster justly observes, chiefly to writings or discourses. Thus we say, a lengthy pamphlet, a lengthy sermon, &c. The English would say, a long or (in the more familiar style) a longish sermon. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]
Related: Lengthily; lengthiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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