One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Masonry and Bricklaying. Designating a style of construction in which long and short blocks or bricks are placed alternately in a vertical line, especially to form a quoin or jamb. Also: designating a building featuring this style. Especially in "long and short work".
2Embroidery. Designating a flat stitch used for shading, in which the first row is alternated in length. Also: designating work featuring this stitch. Chiefly in "long and short stitch".
Early 18th century (in an earlier sense). From long + and + short.
long and short/ˌlɒŋ (ən)(d) ˈʃɔːt/
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