\ 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

Fox News' efforts to reach Gottlieb's representative were unsuccessful. Fox News, "Pennsylvania woman charged in mother's death after victim found covered in feces, ulcers," 5 June 2019 Sarah Hauer can be reached at or on Instagram @HauerSarah and Twitter @SarahHauer. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's it take to be part of Wisconsin's 1%? Income of at least $338,328," 4 June 2019 Lucas Aulbach can be reached at, 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbachCJ. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Wu-Tang Clan brings the ruckus to Louisville this October," 4 June 2019 The trivia question is this: Who was the only guy to reach base when Roy Halladay pitched the second postseason no-hitter in baseball history? Bob Brookover,, "Jay Bruce is part of a Phillies trivia question and now he wants to make some history with them," 4 June 2019 Detour around the backup by taking eastbound Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway to reach northbound I-71. Jennifer Edwards Baker,, "Update: NB I-75 back open after Evendale crash; delays persist," 4 June 2019 According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Fulton County, Georgia, in May, Jackson had to squeeze past the dog to reach his window seat, at which point the dog started growling. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "The Grim Effect Delta's ESA Lawsuit Will Have on Travel," 4 June 2019 He can be reached at 713-362-6163 or J.r. Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Memories of AstroWorld stronger than ever 51 years after park's opening," 3 June 2019 Starter Nikola Vucevic – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season – and reserve Khem Birch are about to reach free agency. Roy Parry,, "Former UCF center Tacko Fall works out for Magic ahead of NBA Draft," 3 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

By Two multimillion dollar donations announced Tuesday brought a private sector fund for Charlotte’s affordable housing efforts within reach of its $50 million goal. Danielle Chemtob And Lauren Lindstrom, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte affordable housing fund closes in on $50 million goal with two big donations," 4 June 2019 The classroom is now within reach – find out how at Rio Salado College. Tj Gibson, azcentral, "Phoenix college proves education is more than just hitting the books," 4 June 2019 At least one of the guns was within reach of the older child, according to WDRB-News. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Kentucky woman arrested for allegedly leaving kids in car with loaded guns to get tan: report," 22 Sep. 2018 A billion miles past Pluto, in the farthest reaches of the solar system, lies an object called Ultima Thule. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The New Horizons spacecraft is about to explore the farthest object ever: Ultima Thule," 24 Dec. 2018 Up in the northern reaches of the state, leaves usually begin to turn the second and third weeks of September. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "See Vermont Fall Foliage in These 12 Beautiful Places," 2 Oct. 2018 Starting his professional career in the lower reaches of the Yugoslavian leagues, Goran finally earned his big break with a move to Red Star Belgrade in 1997., "Social Media Unites in Tribute After Former Spurs Defender Goran Bunjevcevic Passes Away Aged 45," 29 June 2018 The same year, in the furthest reaches of Northern New York, the State Prison Commission found a mother with three children who had been detained in the county jail for over a month after crossing the Canadian border without papers. Brianna Nofil, Time, "Family Separation Is Officially Over, but History Suggests the U.S. Won't Find a Good Solution for Migrant Children," 28 June 2018 Ten years in the planning, Palomar College last week opened its new North Education Center in Fallbrook, which is designed to reduce the commute time for students who live in the northern reaches of the county, as well as some who live in Riverside. J. Harry Jones,, "Palomar College opens campus in Fallbrook," 7 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.

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

7 Jun 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).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!