\ ˈrēch How to pronounce reach (audio) \
reached; reaching; reaches

Definition of reach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to stretch out : extend
b : thrust
2a : to touch or grasp by extending a part of the body (such as a hand) or an object couldn't reach the apple
b : to pick up and draw toward one : take
c(1) : to extend to the shadow reached the wall
(2) : to get up to or as far as : come to your letter reached me yesterday his voice reached the last rows they hoped to reach an agreement
d(1) : encompass
(2) : to make an impression on
(3) : to communicate with
3 : to hand over : pass

intransitive verb

1a : to make a stretch with or as if with one's hand
b : to strain after something
2a : project, extend his land reaches to the river
b : to arrive at or come to something as far as the eye could reach
3 : to sail on a reach



Definition of reach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a continuous stretch or expanse especially : a straight portion of a stream or river
2a(1) : the action or an act of reaching
(2) : an individual part of a progression or journey
b(1) : a reachable distance within reach
(2) : ability to reach had a long reach
c : an extent or range especially of knowledge or comprehension
3 : a bearing shaft or coupling pole especially : the rod joining the hind axle to the forward bolster of a wagon
4 : the tack sailed by a ship with the wind coming just forward of the beam or with the wind directly abeam or abaft the beam
5 : echelon, level usually used in pluralthe upper reaches of academia

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Other Words from reach


reachable \ ˈrē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce reachable (audio) \ adjective
reacher noun

Examples of reach in a Sentence

Verb She couldn't reach the apple. She was too short. He couldn't reach the apple, even with a stick. She can't reach that far. We reached California after driving for two days. Their land reaches the river. Their land reaches to the river. The phone cord doesn't reach. Noun The ball was just out of reach. Their goal is out of reach. The country's farthest reaches had not been explored. the upper reaches of the business the upper reaches of the river
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The school also made a conscious effort to reach those without Wi-Fi access for socioeconomic or geographic reasons, including a mailing for admitted students day that included a video that could be viewed without internet access, Holmboe said. Ben Leonard,, "In ‘exceptional’ break with trend, McDaniel College enrollment grows to record levels despite COVID-19," 19 Oct. 2020 Then, the spacecraft's thrusters will fire and help it back away from Bennu's surface and reach a safe distance once again. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Asteroid Bennu is about to play 'tag' with a NASA spacecraft," 19 Oct. 2020 Whichever candidate voters endorse will have limited room to push new initiatives given the oversight board’s powers, the slowdown in business activity due to Covid-19 and the need to reach a settlement with bondholders. Arian Campo-flores And Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Voters to Pick New Governor After Years of Upheaval," 19 Oct. 2020 Highs will be in the high 70s and could reach 80 by Thursday. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati weather: Up to 2 inches of rain possible early this week," 19 Oct. 2020 Due to the pandemic, the November election is expected to reach record-high levels of mail-in voting, meaning the results are most likely not to come in until after Nov. 3. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Biden campaign unveils multimillion-dollar 'Malarkey Factory' to fight disinformation online: Report," 19 Oct. 2020 With large congressional districts, those running for office have little choice but to use expensive mass methods to reach voters, such as television advertising. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "A Broken Census Can Break Democracy," 19 Oct. 2020 Take a pass on the sweet granola and reach for this savory mix of whole grains, nuts and crispy chickpeas. Curried Pumpkin Seeds. Washington Post, "Going on a hike? Take these protein-packed snacks for fuel on the way.," 19 Oct. 2020 In a scenario where none of the candidates reach 270 electoral votes, the vote would move to the House of Representatives. Fortune, "The election night winner could get dumped by faithless electors," 19 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now, Beijing policy makers are intent on clamping down on home prices that have soared out of reach for many ordinary Chinese. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "China Acceleration May Not Rescue World From Coronavirus Slowdown," 19 Oct. 2020 Smith caught 11 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, including one in the fourth quarter that effectively put it out of reach. John Zenor,, "No. 2 Alabama roars back for 41-24 win over No. 3 Georgia," 18 Oct. 2020 Smith caught 11 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, including one in the fourth quarter that effectively put it out of reach. John Zenor,, "No. 2 Alabama roars back for a 41-24 win over No. 3 Georgia," 17 Oct. 2020 Two plays later, Mobile Christian scored its final touchdown to put the contest out of reach. al, "Alabama commit Deontae Lawson stars as Mobile Christian tops Jackson 36-22," 17 Oct. 2020 House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating a new stimulus deal amounting to somewhere between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, but an agreement still appears out of reach. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "The biggest US banks show the worst is yet to come for the economy," 16 Oct. 2020 Most of his friends live in the city and were suddenly out of reach. New York Times, "They Loved N.Y.C. but Lived in Jersey. The Pandemic Changed That.," 16 Oct. 2020 With prospects for recapturing the House majority dwindling, Republicans are scrambling to prevent the Democrats from running up the score Nov. 3 and putting the speaker’s gavel further out of reach. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "House GOP desperate to prevent bloodletting from becoming a bloodbath," 15 Oct. 2020 The fallacy of these tools can be seen in places like Ahoskie, an agricultural community framed by fields of soybeans and cotton whose high rates of poverty and unemployment put health care out of reach for many residents. Casey Ross @caseymross, STAT, "From a small town in North Carolina to big-city hospitals, how software infuses racism into U.S. health care," 13 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of reach


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for reach


Middle English rechen, from Old English rǣcan; akin to Old High German reichen to reach, Lithuanian raižytis to stretch oneself

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Time Traveler for reach

Time Traveler

The first known use of reach was before the 12th century

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Statistics for reach

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for reach


How to pronounce reach (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to be able to touch, pick up, or grab (something) by moving or stretching
: to move or stretch (your hand, arm, etc.) when you are trying to touch or grab something
: to arrive at (a place that you have been traveling to)



English Language Learners Definition of reach (Entry 2 of 2)

: the distance that you can stretch your arm to touch, pick up, or grab something
: the ability or power of someone or something to do, achieve, or control something
: the parts of an area that are a long way from the center


\ ˈrēch How to pronounce reach (audio) \
reached; reaching

Kids Definition of reach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to extend the arm far enough to touch or grab I can't reach the top shelf.
2 : to arrive at : come We should reach the border before noon.
3 : to extend or stretch to Their land reaches the river.
4 : to communicate with I tried to reach you by phone.
5 : to grow, develop, or increase The temperature reached a record high.



Kids Definition of reach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the distance within which something can be touched or grabbed Keep matches out of the reach of children.
2 : the act of stretching especially to take hold of something Make a reach for my hand.
3 : the probability that something can be achieved Success is within reach.
4 : an unbroken stretch (as of a river)
5 : ability to stretch (as an arm) so as to touch something She has a long reach.

Choose the Right Synonym for reach


reach, gain, and achieve mean to arrive at a point or end by work or effort. reach is used for arriving at something or some place by any amount of effort. They reached the city after many days. gain is used of a struggle to arrive at a goal. The slaves gained their freedom. achieve is used when skill or courage is involved. The artist achieved greatness.

Legal Definition of reach

1 : to extend application to
2 : to obtain an interest in or possession of unable to reach all the assets of the debtor
3a : to arrive at and consider the justices did not reach that issue
b : to amount to did not reach a due process violation

Other Words from reach

reach noun
reachable adjective

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Comments on reach

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