\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

Those who reached Mr Sharif first paused by his seat. The Economist, "Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan, and jail," 14 July 2018 But the cost is prohibitively high, starting at $1,500 and going beyond $20,000, sometimes even reaching $80,000. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 As these figures indicate, the city’s Department of Transportation is reaching beyond Manhattan. James Barron, New York Times, "Lounge in Them. Dash Through Them. But Don’t Call Them Parks.," 13 July 2018 The task force was created last summer as part of the consent decree reached between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice in 2016, after a federal investigation found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory police practices. Jessica Anderson,, "Panel reviewing police civilian oversight calls for more powerful 'independent police accountability agency'," 13 July 2018 Now it’s reaching a crisis point on the Friant-Kern, and California voters are being asked to fix it. Dale Kasler And Phillip Reese, sacbee, "The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water," 13 July 2018 Isner came close to reaching his first Grand Slam final after winning the second and third set but Anderson came back to win the fourth set, leveling the match at 7-6 , 6-7, 6-7, 6-4. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "John Isner loses to eight seed in longest semifinal match at Wimbledon," 13 July 2018 According to the Daily Mail, United are 'expected to make a huge offer' for Maguire this summer that could reach as much as £50m., "Man Utd Tipped to Make 'Huge Offer' for England World Cup Hero Harry Maguire," 13 July 2018 The nation’s five largest mortgage servicers — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and GMAC — reached the settlement in 2012 in a suit by the federal government and every state except Oklahoma. Bob Egelko,, "California ordered to restore $331 million to fund for homeowners," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ohai and other members of the Dash know that for a playoff berth to be in reach, a turnaround has to start on Wednesday against the Pride. Parth Upadhyaya, Houston Chronicle, "Dash look to break season series tie with Orlando Pride," 11 July 2018 But through it all, Desmos has kept growing in reach and sophistication – and strengthening the bonds that keep the social fabric together. Yannis Palaiologos, The Christian Science Monitor, "Online matchmaker pairs donors with charities in Greece," 15 June 2018 This is a bittersweet sort for Cleveland—to come so far in these playoffs and yet to know, as the world did, that the trophy was never at all in its reach. Rob Mahoney,, "Warriors Prove That Third Title in Four Years Was All but a Formality," 9 June 2018 The closer one comes to something being in reach, the further the horizon recedes. Lauren Markham, Longreads, "For Me, With Love and Squalor," 7 June 2018 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

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

8 Nov 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

What made you want to look up reach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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