What comes first, length or width?


Quick Answer

There is no strict rule for listing dimensions of length, width or height, but there are conventions typically followed. Generally, the bigger measurement is listed first, and so many times this ends up being the length or height. For instance, if someone is measuring a rectangle, the longer sides tend to be regarded as the length, which are then listed first before the width measurement.

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Full Answer

However, some people may replace length, altogether, with height, especially if the shape they are referring to is drawn with horizontal and vertical sides. In these cases, width might be listed first before height, particularly if the width measurement is bigger.

There is no specific rule for this usage of mathematical description. People tend to list the bigger measurement first, no matter what it describes, in order to make measurements a little more easy to understand. The aim is to list the measurements in a way that is sensible and clear. Because of this, length commonly comes before width, particularly when the length is greater than the width. Yet, the opposite can happen if the circumstances warrant it.

This context-based rule also applies to listing the dimensions of three-dimensional figures. The idea is to always make sure the dimension measurements are easy to understand, which usually means putting the biggest measurements first.

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