\ 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 plural the upper reaches of academia

Keep scrolling for more

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


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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Miller, rated among the top quarterbacks in the country who reached the Elite 11 in Texas, committed to the Buckeyes before his junior season. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Salpointe 4-star safety Lathan Ransom commits to Ohio State Buckeyes," 16 July 2019 When the core body temperature reaches 107 degrees or more, cells are damaged and internal organs start shutting down, leading to death. Jacob Beltran,, "Education not enough as hot car deaths continue in Texas," 16 July 2019 In grand-slam tennis, the tiebreak—usually triggered when a set reaches six games all—was first introduced at the US Open in 1970. B.f., The Economist, "What is a tiebreak?," 16 July 2019 Rich spoke with Scientific American about his work, the nature of addiction and the opioid epidemic that is reaching into communities and homes throughout the country. David Noonan, Scientific American, "How to Stop Prisons from Laying the Groundwork for a Fatal Overdose," 15 July 2019 Known for a blazing fastball that reached triple digits, Rosenthal averaged 99 miles per hour on the pitch in 2017. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers promote Trevor Rosenthal, former stud closer, to big leagues," 15 July 2019 Heat stroke generally strikes when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees. Rick Maese,, "Extreme heat is changing sports, from the Olympics to local races," 15 July 2019 Sweetbitter proper begins when Tess reaches the city. Ariana Romero,, "The Sweetbitter Premiere Finally Gave Us Tess’ Juicy, Tragic Backstory," 15 July 2019 Billy Gene Wycoff, 24, led officers on a pursuit that reached speeds of up to 115 mph, according to officials from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Christopher Harress |,, "Suspect killed during high-speed chase in Mobile found with single gunshot to the head," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Still, Duterte need not be personally concerned about the reach of the new law — at least, not for the moment. Regine Cabato, Washington Post, "No joke: Duterte outlaws catcalling, wolf-whistling and sexist quips," 17 July 2019 Still, Duterte need not be personally concerned about the reach of the new law — at least, not for the moment. Regine Cabato,, "Duterte outlaws catcalling, wolf-whistling, and sexist quips," 16 July 2019 Started in 1998, the guild is a not-for-profit organization comprised of Arizona brewers that works to expand the reach of craft beer in Arizona and lobby for small-brewer-friendly legislation. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Real, Wild and Woody craft beer festival is 'a love letter' to Arizona's beer culture," 16 July 2019 For so many reasons, the moon is our first stepping stone to the greater reaches of space and the mysteries that lie within. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How Apollo moon rocks reveal the epic history of the cosmos," 15 July 2019 But Drill-Mellum was living in Australia, out of the reach of Minnesota law enforcement. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic, "The Campus Rapist Hiding in Plain Sight," 15 July 2019 This chytrid fungus — a main driver of a worldwide demise of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and other amphibians — now contaminates the farthest reaches of the planet, which scientists warn will mean trouble for people. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Battle to save Colorado high-country toads goes microbial with ground-breaking Purple Rain treatment," 13 July 2019 Tencent, Baidu, Lenovo and Sina all have sprawling campuses in the more distant reaches of the city. The Economist, "China’s Silicon Valley is transforming China, but not yet the world," 11 July 2019 The country stretches from China’s western border to the easternmost reaches of Europe. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "A Spy Case Exposes China’s Power Play in Central Asia," 10 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reach

Statistics for reach

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reach

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on reach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!