\ 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

Neither Russell nor her attorney, William C. Brennan Jr., could be reached for comment Monday. Washington Post, "Baltimore judge suspended without pay by Maryland Court of Appeals," 1 July 2019 No attorney was listed in court records, and he and his family could not immediately be reached. Colin Campbell,, "Cousin of Maryland inmate arrested in second prison drug bust in as many days," 1 July 2019 Kunkel's lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday. NBC News, "Kentucky court rules in favor of health department over teen who refused chickenpox vaccine," 1 July 2019 Kunkel’s lawyer Christopher Wiest of Cincinnati could not be reached Sunday for comment. Anne Saker,, "Vaccines: Kentucky students lose appeal of ban during chickenpox outbreak," 1 July 2019 Marla Drutz, vice president and general manager of WDIV-TV, also could not be reached. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "WDIV-TV reporter Kevin Dietz says he was fired over comment about black reporter," 1 July 2019 The burglar fled, but Stotler, who could not be reached for this story, was badly wounded. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "Maya Moore Left Basketball. A Prisoner Needed Her Help.," 30 June 2019 United couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Artemis Moshtaghian And Jason Hanna, CNN, "Newark airport traffic stopped over 'airport emergency'," 29 June 2019 Neither Bowers or Fann could be reached for comment. Kyra Haas, azcentral, "Secretary of State Katie Hobbs hangs gay pride flag on Arizona Capitol building," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nearly 8 million Americans lost homes in the recession and its aftermath, and the sharp price gains since then have put ownership out of reach for many would-be buyers. Christopher Rugaber,, "Why the wealth gap has grown despite a record economic expansion," 2 July 2019 Keep your car locked when no one is in it, and store car keys out of reach. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "17 children have died in hot cars nationwide in 2019; 2 were from Arizona," 2 July 2019 The divide between rich and poor continues to grow and house prices and cost of living is putting a middle class life out of reach for many of the city's young. James Griffiths, CNN, "The fight over Hong Kong's extradition law could reopen divisions," 1 July 2019 Until America learns how to have a serious conversation about climate change and the solutions needed to address dealing with the issue will remain frustratingly out of reach. Justin Worland, Time, "The Debates Showed America Still Doesn't Know How to Talk About Climate Change," 29 June 2019 Even on Monday, winning Detroit's first PGA Tour event appeared out of reach. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "How Nate Lashley went from 3rd alternate to leader at Rocket Mortgage Classic," 29 June 2019 The seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is 11 points out of reach and at risk of falling out of FC Cincinnati's view. Pat Brennan,, "Shorthanded FC Cincinnati looking to continue MLS progress at Minnesota United FC," 27 June 2019 Other people online noted that Nordstrom, a high-end store with matching prices, is out-of-reach for many. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "A trip to downtown Nordstrom was a fixture of Anchorage life for 44 years. Now, it’s going away.," 27 June 2019 Despite its tantalizing proximity, the moon is still just out of reach for most. Scientific American, "50 Years of Moon Missions: Graphic," 26 June 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

5 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).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!