\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

Despite outscoring teams 61-18, Poway reached the championship game before falling to 4S Ranch. Terry Monahan, Pomerado News, "Poway softball team heads to Western Nationals," 12 July 2018 When the case reached the high court, the justices narrowly ruled that greenhouse gases were indeed pollutants. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "How the New Supreme Court Could Halt Climate Action," 12 July 2018 Tufton officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Citing progress, Ripken Stadium events manager seeks approval to book 2019 events," 11 July 2018 At a certain stage in its orbit, the spacecraft will reach a point that is near the moon. Israel Kasnett, Jewish Journal, "Israel gets set to land spacecraft on the moon," 11 July 2018 Less than a year later, the Empire State Building, with 60,000 tons of steel supplied by U.S. Steel, would reach higher than Chrysler to become the enduring symbol of Manhattan. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 If similar regulations reach the court again, the retiring justice’s successor may not be inclined to do the same. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How the Supreme Court Kills Roe v. Wade," 11 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That’s the beauty of this portfolio and the reach of this portfolio across platform. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Nat Geo executives Courteney Monroe, Rachel Webber and Susan Goldberg on Recode Decode," 6 July 2018 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

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

11 Oct 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

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