\ 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

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.

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 Thermal uses mirrors to focus incoming sunlight onto a location that reaches high temperatures, which can then be used to generate electricity by driving a steam turbine. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Company claims breakthrough in concentrating the Sun’s rays," 19 Nov. 2019 With scoring so sporadic, a team that can reach a league championship game three years in a row defies the odds, even in defeat. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "How LouCity FC lost the USL Championship to the Real Monarchs' defense," 18 Nov. 2019 The viral set includes the Los Feliz blazer, an oversized jacket that reaches a tad below than the hem of the matching high-waisted Vista skirt. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Talks Her Sold-Out Skirt Suits and Wearing What You Want," 18 Nov. 2019 Together, those posts have been shared thousands of times by users and pages who collectively reach millions of followers. Wired, "Facebook’s Anti-Revenge Porn Tools Failed to Protect Katie Hill," 18 Nov. 2019 The info void only invited speculation Bears coach Matt Nagy had lost faith in his starter, a concept given greater credence because the Bears’ explanation apparently didn’t reach the network TV crew until several minutes after the game ended. Phil Rosenthal,, "Without info on Mitch Trubisky’s hip, NBC’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth speculate: ‘Everything is free game if you’re a member of the media or a fan in Chicago’," 18 Nov. 2019 The Democratic race for the 2020 presidential nomination is reaching a turning point—for the men and women competing. Fortune, "The Gender Dynamics of the New 2020 Presidential Race," 18 Nov. 2019 Cotton’s attendance zone includes Alta Vista and part of Beacon Hill, both gentrifying neighborhoods, and an area along Hildebrand Avenue that gentrification hasn’t reached. Ashley Mcbride,, "More high-poverty schools in San Antonio win ‘gold ribbons’," 17 Nov. 2019 Police said Alvarez’s vehicle was left in the parking lot behind the club and attempts to call her cell phone or reach her through social media have been unsuccessful. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Police search for Waterbury woman missing since Tuesday," 16 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to a new report by the UN's disaster relief agency OCHA, rising prices mean even basic supplies are now out of reach for the poor. Caitlin Hu, CNN, "Ten years after an earthquake devastated their country, many Haitians have little hope," 12 Jan. 2020 Part of the rationale in doing so is to put limited-quantity items within reach for guests. Fortune, "The Business of Rare: Why Restaurants Love Investing in Limited Quantity Items," 27 Dec. 2019 The company’s quicker 5G+ network, which uses high-band millimeter waves, launched for business clients and developers last December—but for the moment, AT&T’s zippiest system is out of reach for the general public. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "It’s not worth buying a 5G smartphone yet," 19 Dec. 2019 Despite struggling in recent weeks, the Cowboys will score enough to put the game out of reach for Chicago’s underwhelming offense. Cameron Dasilva, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears odds, picks and best bets," 3 Dec. 2019 But with the deficit at six after a Lenz putback, creating a 51-45 score, Morton Ranch scored the next nine points, seemingly putting the victory out of reach for the Wildcats. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Creek JV pulls off come-from-behind shocker to nab tournament prize," 30 Nov. 2019 The dominance of out-of-pocket as the major method of payment for healthcare services in African countries means the drugs will be out of reach for the majority of people who need it the most. Paul Adepoju, Quartz Africa, "A new Sickle cell disease drug holds much promise but most sufferers won’t be able to afford it," 26 Nov. 2019 The cost can range from $25 to $100 per vial, putting the medicine out of reach for some families without insurance coverage. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "A new clinic at Children’s National Hospital treats undocumented kids with diabetes. But they’re hesitant to seek care.," 25 Oct. 2019 The men were charged but never convicted, and Sunday’s trade seemingly put them out of reach of justice., "The sides exchanged soldiers, activists, and people accused of espionage, some of whom had been languishing in jails for years.," 31 Dec. 2019

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

Cite this Entry

“Reach.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 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.

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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More from Merriam-Webster on reach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reach

Spanish Central: Translation of reach

Nglish: Translation of reach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reach for Arabic Speakers

Comments on reach

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


to express in a more acceptable way

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