# Which way is length and which way is width?

I hear people refer to the dimensions of things as "$2$ by $4$" etc. and I know its length by width, but I can't tell if the length dimension is vertical (up and down) or horizontal (side to side). Does anyone know?

• For a rectangle, I tend to use "length" for the longer side and "width" for the shorter one. – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 15 '11 at 15:40
• This seems more like a question on language, than a math one. – Srivatsan Sep 15 '11 at 15:44
• An $m$ by $n$ matrix is $m$ rows by $n$ columns (I've never seen it otherwise). But most other times it's just ambiguous. – Fixee Sep 15 '11 at 16:09
• I think length is vertical and width is horizontal – user102932 Oct 24 '13 at 8:57