What Comes First Length, Width or Height?

What Comes First Length, Width or Height?

Have you ever looked at 3 numbers representing the dimensions of an object and just couldn’t wrap your head around which one was length, width, or height? It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without any context clues, and suddenly you feel like you’re back in geometry class struggling with spatial reasoning.

In most cases, length is considered the first dimension, followed by the width and then height. So, if you were asked to measure the dimensions of a box, you would measure the length first, then the width, and finally the height.

In this guide, I’m going to help you further understand the order of length, width, and height by introducing definitions and giving examples. And as an added bonus, I’ll also help you deal with the pesky depth variable that pops up on occasion!

Length, Width, and Height Definitions

Length, Width, and Height Definitions

When we describe a rectangular object, we use the terms length, width, and height to specify its dimensions.

The length refers to the longest side of the object, while the width refers to the shorter side. The height, on the other hand, is the remaining side that is perpendicular to the length and width.

For example, if you have a rectangular box, the length would be the side that runs along the longest edge of the box, while the width would be the side that runs along the shorter edge. The height would be the distance between the two parallel faces of the box that is perpendicular to the length and width.

Understanding the difference between these terms is crucial when measuring and calculating the volume of a rectangular object. So next time you’re measuring a box or any rectangular object, keep in mind that the length is the longest side, the width is the shorter side, and height is the remaining side perpendicular to the length and width.

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What Is the Order of Length Width Height?

When listing measurements for rectangular objects, it is standard to write them in the order of length × width × height. The length is always the longest side of the object, the width is the shorter side, and the height is the remaining side.

However, when measuring windows, the width comes first, followed by the height. This orientation of the measurement is determined by which value is greater, with width always coming before height or W × H.

It’s important to note that the order of the measurements is essential when calculating the volume of a cuboid, which is calculated as length × width × height.

Examples of Length, Width, and Height in Measurements

Here are some examples of length, width, and height in measurements:

Example 1

A cuboid with a length of 9 units, width of 5 units, and height of 4 units. The formula to calculate the volume of the cuboid is volume = length × width × height.

Example 2

Examples of Length, Width, and Height in Measurements

A rectangular prism-shaped box that measures 5 inches long x 4 inches wide x 3 inches high has a total volume of 60 cubic inches (5 inches × 4 inches × 3 inches).

Example 3

A cube-shaped box that measures 6 units on all sides has a total volume of 216 cubic units (6 units × 6 units × 6 units = 216 cubic units).

These are just a few examples of how length, width, and height are used in measurements. They are essential dimensions in the world of math, engineering, construction, and many other fields. It is important to understand these measurements to calculate volumes, areas, and other properties of 3-dimensional objects.

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In all of the cases mentioned above, you do not have to calculate the volume of the object—this is only necessary if you want to know how much space the object occupies. Otherwise, you can stick to assigning the 3 variables to the specific parts of the object being measured.

What Is Depth?

What is Depth?

In geometry and mathematics, depth is one of the 3 dimensions that measure the size or distance of an object or space in 3 directions—length, width, and height or depth.

Depth and height are not the same things, although they can be confused as they both refer to measurements in 3-dimensional space. Height refers to the vertical measurement of an object or space, typically from the ground or base to the top or highest point.

Depth is the distance between the front and back sides of an object, and it is usually measured perpendicular to the surface of the object.

For instance, if you have a cube-shaped object, the depth is the third dimension that defines the thickness of the cube. In other words, depth gives objects a sense of area and a cross-section.

A perfect example of an object that exists in 3 dimensions is a cube, which has length, width, and depth. Depth is essential in creating 3D models or designs and in understanding the structure and composition of objects. It also plays a vital role in our perception of depth or distance when we view objects.

Example of Depth

For example, if we have a rectangular prism with a length of 5 cm, a width of 4 cm, and a depth of 3 cm, we can use these dimensions to calculate the volume of the prism, which is 60 cubic centimeters. In this case, depth refers to the third dimension of the rectangular prism, which is the distance from the front face to the back face of the prism.

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Take, for instance, a box. If you look at it from the front, you would get 2 measurements—the length and the width, with either variable being used as “height” for simplicity’s sake. Now, if you were to take run your finger from the top corner of the box’s front face and run it to the back corner, that would be the depth.

In such examples where the object is viewed from the front, you can use the variables Width, Height, and Depth, with height referring to the distance between the top and bottom of the object.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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