verb ex·tend \ ik-ˈstend \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of extend

extended; extending; extends
1 : to spread or stretch forth : unbend
  • extended both her arms
2 a : to stretch out to fullest length
b : to cause (an animal, such as a horse) to move at full stride
c : to exert (oneself) to full capacity
  • could work long and hard without seeming to extend himself
d (1) : to increase the bulk of (as by adding a cheaper substance or a modifier)
(2) : adulterate
[Middle English, from Medieval Latin extendere (from Latin) or Anglo-French estendre, from Old French]
a British : to take possession of (something, such as land) by a writ of extent
b obsolete : to take by force
4 a : to make the offer of : proffer
  • extending aid to the needy
  • extending their greetings
b : to make available
  • extending credit to customers
5 a : to cause to reach (as in distance or scope)
  • national authority was extended over new territories
b : to cause to be longer : prolong
  • extend the side of a triangle
  • extended their visit another day
; also : to prolong the time of payment of
c : advance, further
  • extending her potential through job training
6 a : to cause to be of greater area or volume : enlarge
  • extended the patio to the back of the house
b : to increase the scope, meaning, or application of : broaden
  • beauty, I suppose, opens the heart, extends the consciousness
  • —Algernon Blackwood
c archaic : exaggerate
1 : to stretch out in distance, space, or time : reach
  • their jurisdiction extended over the whole area
2 : to reach in scope or application
  • his concern extends beyond mere business to real service to his customers


play \ik-ˌsten-də-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


or less commonly extendible play \ik-ˈsten-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of extend in a Sentence

  1. He extended a hand in greeting.

  2. sitting with both legs fully extended

  3. The table measures eight feet long when it is fully extended.

  4. The table extends to eight feet in length.

  5. The woods extend for miles to the west.

  6. Their knowledge of the family's history extends back to colonial times.

  7. Their influence extends well beyond their immediate circle of friends.

  8. His popularity extends from coast to coast.

Recent Examples of extend from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of extend

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French estendre, from Latin extendere, from ex- + tendere to stretch — more at thin

Synonym Discussion of extend

extend, lengthen, prolong, protract mean to draw out or add to so as to increase in length. extend and lengthen imply a drawing out in space or time but extend may also imply increase in width, scope, area, or range.
    • extend a vacation
    • extend welfare services
    • lengthen a skirt
    • lengthen the workweek
prolong suggests chiefly increase in duration especially beyond usual limits.
    • prolonged illness
protract adds to prolong implications of needlessness, vexation, or indefiniteness.
    • protracted litigation

EXTEND Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of extend for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (something, such as your arm or leg) to straighten out or to stretch out

  • : to become longer or to be able to become longer

  • : to continue in a specified direction or over a specified distance, space, or time

EXTEND Defined for Kids


verb ex·tend \ ik-ˈstend \

Definition of extend for Students

extended; extending
1 : to hold out
  • extend a hand
2 : to stretch out or across something
  • There was no way of going around it, for it seemed to extend … as far as they could see …
  • —L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz
3 : to make longer
  • extend a visit
4 : 1stretch 2
  • extend a sail
5 : enlarge
  • extend the meaning of a word

Word Root of extend

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 ex·tend \ ik-ˈstend \

medical Definition of extend

1 : to straighten out (as an arm or leg)
2 : to increase the quantity or bulk of (as by adding a cheaper substance or a modifier)
  • extending ground meat with cereal
; also : adulterate

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