distend

verb
dis·tend | \di-ˈstend \

Definition of distend 

transitive verb

1 : extend the main outlines of the land yet lay clearly distended before them— Norman Douglas

2 : to enlarge, expand, or stretch out (as from internal pressure) : swell a distended abdomen

intransitive verb

: to become enlarged, expanded, or stretched out causing the stomach to distend

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for distend

expand, amplify, swell, distend, inflate, dilate mean to increase in size or volume. expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (such 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

Did You Know?

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."

Examples of distend in a Sentence

an abdomen distended by disease

Recent Examples on the Web

On one table lay the body of someone frozen statue-like in death, the stomach distended and a hand jutting stiffly outward. Washington Post, "Grim task as forensic experts ID Guatemala volcano victims," 8 June 2018 On one table lay the body of someone frozen statue-like in death, the stomach distended and a hand jutting stiffly outward. Sonia Perez D., chicagotribune.com, "Grim task as forensic experts ID Guatemala volcano victims; death toll hits 110," 8 June 2018 Is the prone deer the Trump Family, playing dead to trick the greedy reptile into a fatal mistake, ready to burst forth from its enemy’s distended, overtaxed guts in triumph, perhaps while wearing a tiny red MAGA hat? Mark Lisanti, Vanities, "The Trump Family Power Rankings: Week Ending April 20, 2018," 21 Apr. 2018 One person who saw the corpse of the officer, Major General Ali al-Qahtani, said his neck was twisted as if it had been broken, and that his body was badly bruised and distended. BostonGlobe.com, "Saudis said to use coercion and abuse on nation’s wealthy," 12 Mar. 2018 Larger cells in a woman’s heart could interrupt its electrical pathways, the authors suspect, and extra pressure against the lungs (due to a woman’s large size) could cause the heart to distend. Amanda Macmillan, Time, "5 Ways Being Tall Affects Your Health," 8 Sep. 2017 The boy’s stomach was distended and his diaper was wet, and heavy, as if it hadn’t been changed in a long time. Tom Mcghee, The Denver Post, "Aurora couple charged with child abuse after two babies die under similar circumstances," 8 Mar. 2017 That means building CO2 turbines with metals that won’t crack, distend, or deform, and making them big enough to take the abuse. Nick Stockton, WIRED, "Want Efficient Energy? Try Carbon Dioxide-Powered Turbines," 26 May 2017 After all those births his mother’s belly was permanently distended as if number 11 was on the way. By Charles Hammer, kansascity.com, "Radical tax-cutters for the rich are not really true Republicans," 28 June 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of distend

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for distend

Middle English, from Latin distendere, from dis- + tendere to stretch — more at thin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distend

Listen to Our Podcast about distend

Statistics for distend

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distend

The first known use of distend was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for distend

distend

verb

English Language Learners Definition of distend

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

distend

verb
dis·tend | \di-ˈstend \
distended; distending

Kids Definition of distend

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

distend

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on distend

What made you want to look up distend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!