Difference Between Height and Depth

Height vs Depth

Height is a measurement of the vertical magnitude of the object. Depth is also a measurement of the vertical magnitude of an object. These two terms may look like representing the same quantity. These terms are mostly intuitive, and we often overlook the definition of these terms. But these terms are properly defined and have separate meanings in proper scientific fields such as physics, engineering and mathematics. In this article, we are going to discuss what height is and what depth is, the definitions of height and depth, their similarities and finally the differences between height and depth.


Height is a physical quantity with the dimensions of length. The standard unit for measuring height is the meter. The term height can be used in different applications. The height of a building or a person means how “high” the object is. This is an absolute quantity. The height of an object such as an airplane means how high the object is with respect to the mean sea level. This is also known as the altitude. The height of an aircraft with respect to another object is a relative quantity. If the mathematical form of height is taken as a vector, the direction of it will be the positive vertical direction. In the Cartesian coordinate system, the height is measured in the positive y direction. Height is an intuitive concept, which is experienced in daily life.


Depth is a physical quantity, which also has the dimensions of length. It has the same standard unit of measurement as height which is meters. The term depth can also be used in many applications. The depth of a well or a hole means how deep is the object itself. It is a property of the object. It can also be used to indicate how deep the object is placed with respect to some point in space. For an example, if a submarine is said to be hundred meters below, it indicates that the submarine is placed 100 meters below the surface of the water. The depth is measured in a downward direction. If the depth is indicated in a vector form, it will take the direction of the downward direction. If depth is indicated in a Cartesian coordinate system, it will take the direction of the negative y-axis. The depth is also an intuitive concept. For an object, the height measured from the bottom of the object is equal to the depth measured from the top of the object. The depth of an object with respect to some other object can be termed as the apparent depth of the object.


What is the difference between Depth and Height?

• Depth is always measured in the downward direction, whereas the height is always measured in the upward direction. 

• Depth is mostly used in fields such as nautical engineering, geology and hydrodynamics. Height is mostly used in fields such as aviation, military applications and space exploration.