height

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun the vertical distance of a point, level or object measured from a particular place such as sea level

Construction

  • The distance between two points in vertical alignment or from the top to the bottom of any object, space, or enclosure.
  • The vertical distance between the average grade around a building, or the average street curb elevation, and the average level of its roof.
  • The rise of an arch.

Electronics

  • The vertical distance from a given level, such as the base, to another given level, such as the top.

Military

  • noun vertical distance from the ground

Slang

  • adjective excellent, first-rate. A term of approbation from the hip hop youth culture of the 1980s, coined by black teenagers (as a shortening of ‘height of fashion’) in the USA and spread with the music and dance trend to Britain where it enjoyed a brief vogue.

Origin & History of “height”

Etymologically as well as semantically, height is the ‘condition of being high’. It was formed in prehistoric Germanic from *khaukh- (source of high) and *-ithā, an abstract noun suffix: combined, they came down to Old English as hēhthu. The change of final -th to -t seems to have begun in the 13th century. The spelling ei reflects the word’s pronunciation in middle English times, when it rhymed approximately with modern English hate.
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