verb dis·tend \di-ˈstend\

medical + formal : to become larger and rounder because of pressure from inside

Full Definition of DISTEND

transitive verb
:  extend
:  to enlarge from internal pressure :  swell
intransitive verb
:  to become expanded

Examples of DISTEND

  1. an abdomen distended by disease

Origin of DISTEND

Middle English, from Latin distendere, from dis- + tendere to stretch — more at thin
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of DISTEND

expand, amplify, swell, distend, inflate, dilate mean to increase in size or volume. expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (as growth, unfolding, addition of parts) <a business that expands every year>. amplify implies the extension or enlargement of something inadequate <amplify the statement with details>. swell implies gradual expansion beyond a thing's original or normal limits <the bureaucracy swelled to unmanageable proportions>. distend implies outward extension caused by pressure from within <a distended abdomen>. inflate implies expanding by introduction of air or something insubstantial and suggests a vulnerability to sudden collapse <an inflated ego>. dilate applies especially to expansion of circumference <dilated pupils>.
DISTENDED Defined for Kids


verb dis·tend \di-ˈstend\

Definition of DISTEND for Kids

:  expand 2, swell <Illness can cause the stomach to distend.>

Word Root of DISTEND

The Latin word tendere, meaning to stretch or to spread, and its form tentus give us the roots tend, tent, and tens. Words from the Latin tendere have something to do with stretching or spreading. A tent is a temporary shelter made from stretched out fabric. To distend is to stretch outward and swell in all directions. To extend is to stretch out. A tendon is a cord that connects a muscle to another muscle or to a bone and that stretches allowing a joint to bend. Something tense is stretched tight.
Medical Dictionary


transitive verb dis·tend \dis-ˈtend\

Medical Definition of DISTEND

:  to enlarge or stretch out (as from internal pressure) <distended veins>
intransitive verb
:  to become expanded


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