Definition of distend
- the main outlines of the land yet lay clearly distended before them
- —Norman Douglas
- a distended abdomen
- causing the stomach to distend
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an abdomen distended by disease
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The history of the word distend stretches back to the Latin verb tendere - a root whose kin have really expanded our language. To find evidence of this expansion, look to words that include "tend" or "tent"; many have "tendere," which means "to stretch, extend, or spread," in their family tree. Perhaps the simplest example is "tent," which names a shelter made from a piece of material stretched over a frame. You'll also find the influence of "tendere" in "extend," "tendon," "contend," "portend," and "tendency."
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