Meaning of breadth


If you measure the distance of an object from side to side, you are measuring the object’s breadth: “Theodore measured the breadth of the table before buying it to make sure it would fit in his small kitchen.”

Breadth often refers to a physical measurement, but it can also be used to describe comprehensiveness or largeness of any kind, such as breadth of knowledge or breadth of experience. In the famous sentence describing Macedonian king Alexander the Great, the word breadth is used to indicate the vastness of Alexander’s empire: “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Definitions of breadth
  1. noun

    the extent of something from side to side



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    broadness, wideness

    the property of being wide; having great width

    (nautical) breadth amidships

    the property of being narrow; having little width
    heaviness, thickness

    used of a line or mark
    fineness, thinness

    the property of being very narrow or thin
    type of:


    the magnitude of something in a particular direction (especially length or width or height)

  2. noun

    the capacity to understand a broad range of topics

    “a teacher must have a
    breadth of knowledge of the subject”

    comprehensiveness, largeness

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    capaciousness, roominess

    intellectual breadth
    type of:


    the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience

Word Family

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