long (adj.)

Old English lang "having a great linear extent, that extends considerably from end to end; tall; lasting," from Proto-Germanic *langa- (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon lang, Old High German and German lang, Old Norse langr, Middle Dutch lanc, Dutch lang, Gothic laggs "long").

The Germanic words perhaps are from PIE *dlonghos- (source also of Latin longus "long, extended; further; of long duration; distant, remote," Old Persian darga-, Persian dirang, Sanskrit dirghah "long"), from root *del- (1) "long" (source also of Greek dolikhos "long," endelekhes "perpetual"). Latin longus (source of prolong, elongate, longitude, etc.) thus is probably cognate with, but not the source of, the Germanic words. The word illustrates the Old English tendency for short "a" to become short "o" before -n- (also retained in bond/band and West Midlands dialectal lond from land and hond from hand).

Also in Old English in reference to time, "drawn out in duration," with overtones of "serious." The old sense of "tall" now appears to be dialectal only, or obsolete. For long "during a long time" is from c. 1300. To be long on something, "have a lot" of it, is from 1900, American English slang. A long vowel (c. 1000) originally was pronounced for an extended time. Mathematical long division is from 1808. Sporting long ball is from 1744, originally in cricket. Long jump as a sporting event is attested from 1864. A long face, one drawn downward in expression of sadness or solemnity, is from 1786. Long in the tooth (1841 of persons) is from horses showing age by recession of gums (but not in this sense until 1870). Long knives, name Native Americans gave to white settlers (originally in Virginia/Kentucky) is from 1774, perhaps a reference to their swords. Long time no see, supposedly imitative of American Indian speech, is first recorded 1919 as Chinese English.

long (v.)

Middle English longen, from Old English langian "to yearn after, grieve for," literally "to grow long, lengthen," from Proto-Germanic *langojan, which probably is connected with the root of long (adj.). Cognate with Old Norse langa, Old Saxon langon, Middle Dutch langhen, Old High German langen "to long," German verlangen "to desire." Related: Longed; longing.

long (adv.)

Old English lange, longe "for a length of time, a long time; far, to a great extent in space," from long (adj.). Old English also had langlice (adv.) "for a long time, long, at length." Longly (adv.) is rarely used. No longer "not as formerly" is from c. 1300; to be not long for this world "soon to die" is from 1714.

long (n.)

in long and short of it "the sum of the matter in a few words," c. 1500, from long (adj.).

updated on October 14, 2021

Definitions of long from WordNet
long (adj.)
primarily temporal sense; being or indicating a relatively great or greater than average duration or passage of time or a duration as specified;
a long game
a long time
long ago
a long life
a long boring speech
an hour long
a long friendship
long (adj.)
primarily spatial sense; of relatively great or greater than average spatial extension or extension as specified;
a long distance
contained many long words
a long road
ten miles long
long (adj.)
of relatively great height; "a race of long gaunt men"- Sherwood Anderson;
looked out the long French windows
long (adj.)
holding securities or commodities in expectation of a rise in prices;
a long position in gold
is long on coffee
long (adj.)
(of speech sounds or syllables) of relatively long duration;
the English vowel sounds in `bate', `beat', `bite', `boat', `boot' are long
long (adj.)
involving substantial risk;
long odds
long (adj.)
planning prudently for the future;
took a long view of the geopolitical issues
Synonyms: farseeing / farsighted / foresighted / foresightful / prospicient / longsighted
long (adj.)
having or being more than normal or necessary;
in long supply
long on brains
long (adj.)
good at remembering;
Synonyms: retentive / recollective / tenacious
long (adv.)
for an extended time or at a distant time;
talked all night long
a promotion long overdue
his name has long been forgotten
arrived long before he was expected
how long will you be gone?
it is long after your bedtime
something long hoped for
long (adv.)
for an extended distance;
long (v.)
desire strongly or persistently;
Synonyms: hanker / yearn
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.