Perl function:
length value

Returns the length of the scalar value, in bytes. If no argument is used, length uses the magic variable $_.

length should not be used to find the size of arrays and hashes. Use the function scalar instead.

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Also slang for sex in certain parts of england.

Jesus and Mary approached bethlehem tired and exhausted seeking an inn for the night.
Said Joseph to the innkeeper, "Good Sir, I need a room as my fair wife Mary needs length".
"I have but a stable for ye." said the innkeeper.
"That will do." said Joseph. The innkeeper winked at Joseph, and lo, the wink was cheeky.

Calling the function length() in R returns the number of elements in the matrix, or vector, so assuming you were looking at pieces in a puzzle, it would tell you how many pieces there were. It would give you the number of values, not what the values are. Length is the number of parts that make up the whole.

Saying to someone, 'what is the length of your dresser?' could lead to confusion. Both dimensions are about the same, so do you mean the height or the width? The value or the number of values? Length functions as a way to condense this two-dimensional spread of the object, a way to make things simpler. In asking 'what is the length of your arm?' we make the arm into a line, we forget the space across the skin has a size too.

Someone says, 'how long has it been since we last talked?' you may begin counting days, or (more likely) you may begin thinking about the values themselves, what has happened since then? Luckily, the answer to length is always a pleasant little number. A handy way to skirt the real question, the second axis, the value stretching out in the ten thousand times you opened your eyes.

Still, I wouldn't want to live in lengths. 'We spoke a few months ago', 'You live 1336 miles away', 'This writeup is 284 words long'. Length is even less than the number of parts that make up the whole. Length forgets that its opposite is the important part: the growth of my fingernails, the inches that make up your new baby. Length only goes on, like the sun rising. Length doesn't mean we're moving farther apart.


Length (?), n. [OE. lengthe, AS. leng, fr. land, long, long; akin to D. lengte, Dan. laengde, Sw. langd, Icel. lengd. See Long, a. ]


The longest, or longer, dimension of any object, in distinction from breadth or width; extent of anything from end to end; the longest line which can be drawn through a body, parallel to its sides; as, the length of a church, or of a ship; the length of a rope or line.


A portion of space or of time considered as measured by its length; -- often in the plural.

Large lengths of seas and shores. Shak.

The future but a length behind the past. Dryden.


The quality or state of being long, in space or time; extent; duration; as, some sea birds are remarkable for the length of their wings; he was tired by the length of the sermon, and the length of his walk.


A single piece or subdivision of a series, or of a number of long pieces which may be connected together; as, a length of pipe; a length of fence.


Detail or amplification; unfolding; continuance as, to pursue a subject to a great length.

May Heaven, great monarch, still augment your bliss. With length of days and every day like this. Dryden.




He had marched to the length of Exeter. Clarendon.

At length. (a) At or in the full extent; without abbreviation; as, let the name be inserted at length. (b) At the end or conclusion; after a long period. See Syn. of At last, under Last. -- At arm's length. See under Arm.


© Webster 1913.

Length, v. i.

To lengthen.




© Webster 1913.

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