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Before long

having considerable linear extent in space:
a long distance; a long handle.
having considerable duration in time:
a long conversation; a long while.
extending, lasting, or totaling a number of specified units:
eight miles long; eight hours long.
containing many items or units:
a long list.
requiring a considerable time to relate, read, etc.:
a long story.
extending beyond normal or moderate limits:
a long, boring speech.
experienced as passing slowly, because of the difficulty, tedium, or unpleasantness involved:
long years of study.
reaching well into the past:
a long memory.
the longer of two or the longest of several:
the long way home; a brick with the long side exposed.
taking a long time; slow:
He’s certainly long getting here.
forward-looking or considering all aspects; broad:
to take a long view of life.
intense, thorough, or critical; seriously appraising:
a long look at one’s past mistakes.
having an ample supply or endowment of something (often followed by on):
to be long on advice; to be long on brains.
having a considerable time to run, as a promissory note.
Chiefly Law. distant or remote in time:
a long date.
extending relatively far:
a man with a long reach.
being higher or taller than usual:
long casement windows.
being against great odds; unlikely:
a long chance.
(of beverages) mixed or diluted with a large amount of soda, seltzer, etc.:
highballs, collinses, and other long drinks.
(of the head or skull) of more than ordinary length from front to back.

lasting a relatively long time: “Feed” has a longer sound than “feet” or “fit.”.
belonging to a class of sounds considered as usually longer in duration than another class, as the vowel of bought as compared to that of but, and in many languages serving as a distinctive feature of phonemes, as the ah in German Bahn in contrast with the a in Bann, or the tt in Italian fatto in contrast with the t in fato (opposed to short).
having the sound of the English vowels in mate, meet, mite, mote, moot, and mute, historically descended from vowels that were long in duration.

Prosody. (of a syllable in quantitative verse) lasting a longer time than a short syllable.
Finance. holding or accumulating stocks, futures, commodities, etc., with the expectation of a rise in prices:
a long position in chemicals.

marked by a large difference in the numbers of the given betting ratio or in the amounts wagered:
long odds.
of or relating to the larger amount bet.

Ceramics. (of clay) very plastic; fat.
a comparatively long time:
They haven’t been gone for long. Will it take long?
something that is long:
The signal was two longs and a short.
a size of garment for men who are taller than average.
a garment, as a suit or overcoat, in this size:
The shorts and the longs are hung separately.
Finance. a person who accumulates or holds stocks or commodities with the expectation of a rise in prices.
Music. longa.
for or through a great extent of space or, especially, time:
a reform long advocated.
for or throughout a specified extent, especially of time:
How long did he stay?
(used elliptically in referring to the length of an absence, delay, etc.):
Will she be long?
throughout a specified period of time (usually used to emphasize a preceding noun):
It’s been muggy all summer long.
at a point of time far distant from the time indicated:
long before.
as long as,

provided that:
As long as you can come by six, I’ll be here.
seeing that; since:
As long as you’re going to the grocery anyway, buy me a pint of ice cream.
Also, so long as. during the time that; through the period that:
As long as we were neighbors, they never invited us inside their house.

before long, soon:
We should have news of her whereabouts before long.
the long and the short of, the point or gist of; substance of:
The long and the short of it is that they will be forced to sell all their holdings.
Also, the long and short of.
Contemporary Examples

before long, almost the entire population of Khimki (207,000 people strong) knew of Chirikova and her green movement.
Yevgeniya Chirikova: Russia’s Environmental Activist Turned Politician Anna Nemtsova August 22, 2012

before long, he had picked up a cocaine habit, sharing what he had, and getting his famous friends the drugs that they wanted.
Drug Dealers to the Stars Christine Pelisek October 19, 2010

But just as Silver is a harbinger of this world, before long he too may eventually be its victim.
Revenge of the Nerd: Nate Silver Is 2012’s Other Winner Trevor Butterworth November 6, 2012

before long, though, he finds himself at the center of a dark, spiraling labyrinth.
The Daily Beast Recommends The Daily Beast June 22, 2009

before long, the two are naked in bed, sucking each other’s blood and having sex.
10 Steamiest Lesbian Sex Scenes Marlow Stern November 30, 2010

Historical Examples

It might well be, I said, that before long I should legally adopt her.
The Book of Susan Lee Wilson Dodd

before long, what is known as the “Bessemer process” was invented.
Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan

There was thus formed the nucleus of an army the numbers of which, before long, amounted to 5,000.
A Student’s History of England, v. 2 (of 3) Samuel R. Gardiner.

“Oh, I intend to get them out of him before long,” said Mrs Clagget.
The Voyages of the Ranger and Crusader W.H.G. Kingston

before long, the water around the ship and the monster was polluted with things like that.
Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper

having relatively great extent in space on a horizontal plane
having relatively great duration in time

(postpositive) of a specified number of units in extent or duration: three hours long
(in combination): a two-foot-long line

having or consisting of a relatively large number of items or parts: a long list
having greater than the average or expected range: a long memory
being the longer or longest of alternatives: the long way to the bank
having more than the average or usual quantity, extent, or duration: a long match
seeming to occupy a greater time than is really so: she spent a long afternoon waiting in the departure lounge
intense or thorough (esp in the phrase a long look)
(of drinks) containing a large quantity of nonalcoholic beverage
(of a garment) reaching to the wearer’s ankles
(informal) (foll by on) plentifully supplied or endowed (with): long on good ideas
(phonetics, of a speech sound, esp a vowel)

of relatively considerable duration
classified as long, as distinguished from the quality of other vowels
(in popular usage) denoting the qualities of the five English vowels in such words as mate, mete, mite, moat, moot, and mute

from end to end; lengthwise
unlikely to win, happen, succeed, etc: a long chance

denoting a vowel of relatively great duration or (esp in classical verse) followed by more than one consonant
denoting a syllable containing such a vowel
(in verse that is not quantitative) carrying the emphasis or ictus

(finance) having or characterized by large holdings of securities or commodities in anticipation of rising prices: a long position
(cricket) (of a fielding position) near the boundary: long leg
(informal) (of people) tall and slender
in the long run, See run (sense 82)
(informal) long in the tooth, old or ageing
for a certain time or period: how long will it last?
for or during an extensive period of time: long into the next year
at a distant time; quite a bit of time: long before I met you, long ago
(finance) into a position with more security or commodity holdings than are required by sale contracts and therefore dependent on rising prices for profit: to go long
as long as, so long as

for or during just the length of time that
inasmuch as; since
provided that; if

no longer, not any more; formerly but not now
a long time (esp in the phrase for long)
a relatively long thing, such as a signal in Morse code
a clothing size for tall people, esp in trousers
(phonetics) a long vowel or syllable
(finance) a person with large holdings of a security or commodity in expectation of a rise in its price; bull
(music) a note common in medieval music but now obsolete, having the time value of two breves
before long, soon
the long and the short of it, the essential points or facts
(intransitive; foll by for or an infinitive) to have a strong desire
(intransitive) (archaic) to belong, appertain, or be appropriate
Crawford Williamson. 1815–78, US surgeon. He was the first to use ether as an anaesthetic

“that extends considerably from end to end,” Old English lang “long,” from Proto-Germanic *langgaz (cf. 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 are perhaps from PIE *dlonghos- (cf. Latin longus, Old Persian darga-, Persian dirang, Sanskrit dirghah, Greek dolikhos “long,” Greek endelekhes “perpetual,” Latin indulgere “to indulge”), from root *del- “long.”

The adverb is from Old English lange, longe, from the adjective. No longer “not as formerly” is from c.1300; to be not long for this world “soon to die” is from 1714.

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).

Long vowels (c.1000) originally were pronounced for an extended time. Sporting long ball is from 1744, originally in cricket. Long jump as a sporting event is attested from 1864. A ship’s long-boat so called from 1510s. Long knives, name Native Americans gave to white settlers (originally in Virginia/Kentucky) is from 1774. Long in the tooth (1841 of persons) is from horses showing age by recession of gums. Long time no see, imitative of American Indian speech, is first recorded 1900. To be long on something, “have a lot” of it, is from 1900, American English slang.

Old English langian “to yearn after, grieve for,” literally “to grow long, lengthen,” from Proto-Germanic *langojanan (see 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 (lông), Crawford Williamson. 1815-1878.

American surgeon and pioneer anesthetist who was among the first (1842) to use ether as an anesthetic.
Soon, in the near future, as in The baby will be teething before long. This idiom was first recorded in 1865.

long ago
long and short of it, the
long arm of the law, the
long face
long haul
long in the tooth
long shot, a
long suit
long time no see


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