Length vs Depth

The Difference Between Length and Depth

Length is the distance between two sides or ends of an object. It can be measured in inches, feet, miles, kilometers, and so on. Width is the horizontal distance between two sides of an object, and height is the vertical distance from one side to the other. Usually, length is longer than width, but this is not always true.


The width of an object or figure measures how broad or wide that object is. It is often measured in units such as meters, centimeters, inches, and so on. While the term width is sometimes used interchangeably with the term length, it is important to know the difference between these two measurements. In general, length refers to the longest side of a figure while width refers to the shortest side. Despite this convention, it is possible for the width of a figure to be longer than its length.

In the case of a rectangle, it is often helpful to think of the length as the open or flat side and the width as the closed or vertical side. This way, when a student is asked to write down the dimensions of a given figure, it will be easy for them to determine which measurement is being discussed. The same is not always true for other three-dimensional figures, however.


When a figure has both vertical and horizontal sides, it is easier to use the word height to indicate the vertical dimension than the word width. This also makes it easy to differentiate this dimension from the side-to-side dimension, which would otherwise be hard to distinguish if you were only using words such as length and width. However, there is no rule that says you cannot use both words when referring to dimensions of three-dimensional figures.


Depth is a measurement of how far into something you can go. It’s the opposite of breadth, which refers to how much you know or understand something. For example, if someone says they have a depth of knowledge in art history, they mean that they’ve studied the subject for a long time and understand it very well.

In a 3D figure, depth is the perpendicular vertical distance measured downward from a reference point at the top of the figure (often interchangeable with width). It’s usually the longest dimension of the figure. It can be measured in millimeters, centimeters, inches, or feet. Sometimes, it’s also referred to as height.

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