- This article is about the concept and measurement of distance. For usage in cricket, see line and length.
In general English usage, length (symbols: l, L) is but one particular instance of distance – an object's length is how long the object is – but in the physical sciences and engineering, the word length is in some contexts used synonymously with "distance". Height is vertical distance; width (or breadth) is a lateral distance; an object's width is less than its length. No one speaks of "the length from here to Alpha Centauri", but rather of "the distance from here to Alpha Centauri," but when one speaks of distance more abstractly, one says "A kilometre or a mile, is a unit of length" or "...of distance", and the two statements are synonymous. Likewise, a mountain might be a mile in height. Length is the metric of one dimension of space. The metric of space itself is volume, or (length)3. Length is commonly considered to be one of the fundamental units, meaning that it cannot be defined in terms of other dimensions. However, a set of units can be constructed where units of length can be derived from fundamental physical constants - see Planck units and Planck length.
Colloquially length sometimes refers to duration, especially when used in context of music.