\ ˈrēch \
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 plural the upper reaches of academia

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Other words from reach


reachable \ˈrē-chə-bəl \ 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


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.


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

What about Germany’s difficulties meeting its targets, with Merkel recently downgrading expectations about when the country is going to reach two percent spending? Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?," 12 July 2018 This long and complex course will allow the spacecraft to reach the moon with minimal fuel consumption. Israel Kasnett, Jewish Journal, "Israel gets set to land spacecraft on the moon," 11 July 2018 Motorists could be delayed up to 10 minutes at each closure point and are advised to allow 30 minutes or more additional travel time to reach their destination. Ramona Sentinel, "Caltrans begins $11M repairs on Route 78," 11 July 2018 Ten days later, an international rescue team of cave experts and Thai military personnel manage to reach the boys and begin a process of evacuating them along a long and difficult six-hour route. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How the U.S. Military Helped Support the Thai Cave Rescue," 11 July 2018 Anthony Mayo, Harris’ attorney, could not be reached for comment. Jess Nocera, Laurel Leader, "Laurel man arrested on first- and second-degree murder charges," 11 July 2018 As goals are reached, a municipality can advance to higher levels of recognition. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Bel Air achieves several milestones, seeks sustainable community recertification," 10 July 2018 Here, light coming from the various mirrors is combined and fiddled with before finally traveling down a fiber-optic cable to reach the image-capturing sensors in the next room. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Building the world’s highest-resolution telescope," 9 July 2018 Michael Williams can be reached at, 407-420-5022 or @michaeldamianw. Michael Williams,, "Man injured in Sanford shooting, police say," 15 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Two parents were arrested after police raided an Austell home and allegedly found eight kilograms of heroin within reach of their 2-year-old daughter. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Cops: Cobb parents had $400K of heroin in home with 2-year-old girl," 6 July 2018 The wood is soft and easier to cut now, and summer pruning helps keep trees at a height where all the fruit is within reach. Nan Sterman,, "July in the garden," 5 July 2018 Investor jitters may return if Lopez Obrador’s Morena party wins both houses of Congress, something that’s within reach according to some polls, though final results may not be clear for days. Bloomberg, Fortune, "What You Need to Know About the Historic Victory of Mexico's New Left-Wing President," 2 July 2018 All the while, I’m expected to stay within reach of the team. Emily Reed, Outside Online, "Our Favorite Travel Gear of All Time," 1 July 2018 As long as Grimes rises to the occasion at Kansas, the lottery should be within reach. Jeremy Woo,, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board: Top 60 Prospects," 27 June 2018 There’s a toothbrush, toothpaste, face soap, Advil, vitamins and ear plugs are all within reach in an outside pocket. Lainey Berkus, San Antonio Express-News, "A peek inside McNay director’s bag made from seat belts," 25 June 2018 Runners up will also become legends (just smaller ones) and receive complementary, one-year, all-access, print & digital subscriptions to Scientific American, putting 173 years of breakthroughs and innovation within reach. Scientific American, "The Build-Your-Own Alka-Rocket Contest," 22 June 2018 Like the predatory Mantis insect, this vehicle can ambush and strike rapidly when prey is within reach. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "New futuristic Israeli 'dune-buggy' is bristling with weapons, ready for combat," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for reach

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reach

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

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More Definitions for reach



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

reaches : the parts of an area that are a long way from the center


\ ˈrēch \
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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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