\ 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 pluralthe 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

Verb 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. Noun 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 As the broccoli and sausage simmer in the bubbling water, a masher incorporates the two ingredients, kind of making them one, a process that reaches its fruition with the addition of butter and a shower of finely grated parm. Adam Rapoport, Bon Appétit, "Broccoli Bolognese Is an Anywhere, Anytime Pasta," 17 Sep. 2019 When summer reaches the Alps of southwestern Austria’s Tirol Province, yodeling farmers gather in the dawn light to urge drowsy cows into milling herds. Danielle Bernabe, National Geographic, "Eat, drink, and herd cattle at this Austrian festival," 15 Sep. 2019 Saudi Arabia’s closest ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is withdrawing most of its troops from Yemen, where the two have profound disagreements over tactics and strategy in a war that has reached a stalemate. The Economist, "Drone attacks cut Saudi Arabia’s oil output by half," 15 Sep. 2019 In other words: Week Three was a sterling opportunity for the conference to showcase its product on media outlets that reach 80+ million viewers. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Saturday Night Five: USC stumbles, UCLA rolls over (again), ASU goes bowling (trust us) and has anybody seen Stanford," 15 Sep. 2019 Jilienne Widener made Westminster volleyball history Thursday night when the senior hitter reached 1,000 career kills in the Owls’ 3-0 victory over county rival Manchester Valley. Megan Woodward,, "Carroll Varsity Roundup (Sept. 12): Westminster volleyball standout Jilienne Widener reaches 1,000 career kills," 13 Sep. 2019 The State Department declined to comment on pending litigation when reached by USA TODAY. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Gay married couple says State Department denied child's citizenship claim, said she was born 'out of wedlock'," 13 Sep. 2019 Uncover and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 300°F or hard-crack stage, approximately 3 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Candy Apples with Gummy Worms," 13 Sep. 2019 In 2018, when the three countries reached an impasse, Schwarzman privately warned Trump about the dangers of fighting a multifront trade war with Asia, Europe and the Americas. Cristina Alesci, CNN, "Stephen Schwarzman writes in new book about his role as Trump interlocutor with China," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Mandalorian from showrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man) follows a lone bounty hunter (Pascal) in the outer reaches of the galaxy during a period of chaos following the downfall of the Galactic Empire in Return of the Jedi. James Hibberd,, "The Mandalorian cast reveal their favorite Star Wars movie (and why)," 16 Sep. 2019 After a burst of cosmic rays from deep space threatens life on Earth, Roy must venture to the outer reaches of the solar system to find the source, where clues about his father's disappearance may also lie. Thomas Page, CNN, "James Gray on 'Ad Astra,' little green men and firing Brad Pitt into space," 16 Sep. 2019 At issue is the reach of the Clean Water Act, and more precisely, what waterways should be regulated by the federal government. Kurtis Alexander,, "California protects itself from Trump’s rollback of Clean Water Act," 12 Sep. 2019 Researchers say this scarcity could be because the crab -- due to warming or other factors -- moved out of their traditional harvest grounds, out of reach of the Nome fleet. Anchorage Daily News, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 17 Sep. 2019 Alas, Trump has continued to hold his taxes out of reach, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Manhattan District Attorney's Office Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump's Tax Returns," 17 Sep. 2019 But negotiating those deals is complex and time consuming, putting them out of reach of many small societies. Jeffrey Brainard, Science | AAAS, "New deals could help scientific societies survive open access," 16 Sep. 2019 While a deep run in the NCAA tournament (Georgia hasn’t made an appearance since 2015) is probably out of reach, a bubble berth isn’t out of the question, especially if Edwards meets the lofty expectations that await him. Emily Caron,, "Can Anthony Edwards Spearhead a Georgia Basketball Turnaround?," 16 Sep. 2019 Some medications are out of reach for many patients who need them because of the high prices pharmaceutical companies charge. Dana Brown, The New Republic, "The Case for a Public Option for the Drug Industry," 16 Sep. 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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reach


How to pronounce reach (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!