stretch

verb
\ ˈstrech How to pronounce stretch (audio) \
stretched; stretching; stretches

Definition of stretch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to extend (one's limbs, one's body, etc.) in a reclining position
2 : to reach out : extend stretched out her arms
3 : to extend in length stretched his neck to see what was going on
4 : to fell with or as if with a blow
5 : to cause the limbs of (a person) to be pulled especially in torture
6 : to draw up (one's body) from a cramped, stooping, or relaxed position
7 : to pull taut canvas stretched on a frame
8a : to enlarge or distend especially by force
b : to extend or expand as if by physical force stretch one's mind with a good book
c : strain stretched his already thin patience
9 : to cause to reach or continue (as from one point to another or across a space) stretch a wire between two posts
10a : to amplify or enlarge beyond natural or proper limits the rules can be stretched this once
b : to expand (as by improvisation) to fulfill a larger function stretching a dollar
11 : to extend (a hit) to an extra base usually by fast or daring running stretch a single into a double

intransitive verb

1a : to become extended in length or breadth or both : spread broad plains stretching to the sea
b : to extend over a continuous period the dynasty stretches back several centuries
2 : to become extended without breaking
3a : to extend one's body or limbs stretched before jogging wanted to stretch out on the sofa
b : to lie down at full length
stretch a point
: to go beyond what is strictly warranted in making a claim or concession
stretch one's legs
1 : to extend the legs
2 : to take a walk in order to relieve stiffness caused by prolonged sitting

stretch

noun

Definition of stretch (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an exercise of something (such as the understanding or the imagination) beyond ordinary or normal limits their conclusion seemed like a bit of a stretch
b : an extension of the scope or application of something a stretch of language
2 : the extent to which something may be stretched
3a : the act of stretching : the state of being stretched a good stretch for legs
b : the position of a pitcher standing sideways to home plate so as to keep a runner close to a base pitching from the stretch
4a : an extent in length or area an open stretch of road
b : a continuous period of time can write for eight hours at a stretch
5 : a walk to relieve fatigue
6 : a term of imprisonment served a 10-year stretch
7a : either of the straight sides of a racecourse especially : homestretch
b : a final stage (as of a contest or season) won some crucial games down the stretch
8 : the capacity for being stretched : elasticity a waistband with lots of stretch
9 : a stretch limousine

stretch

adjective

Definition of stretch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : easily stretched : elastic a stretch wig
2 : longer than the standard size a stretch limousine

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Other Words from stretch

Verb

stretchability \ ˌstre-​chə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce stretchability (audio) \ noun
stretchable \ ˈstre-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce stretchable (audio) \ adjective
stretchy \ ˈstre-​chē How to pronounce stretchy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of stretch in a Sentence

Verb

Don't yank on my sweater. You'll stretch it. The elastic waistband of my pants won't stretch any more. It's important to stretch before you exercise. The baby stretched and yawned. She woke up and stretched her arms above her head. She stretched over us to open the window. She stretched her hand toward him. She stretched the canvas over the wooden frame. The T-shirt was stretched tight over his belly. A big banner was stretched across the doorway.

Noun

a 60-mile stretch of beach an open stretch of highway These are good stretches for your leg muscles. I always spend a few minutes doing stretches before I exercise. I can feel the stretch in the back of my legs.

Adjective

stretch fabrics that don't wrinkle or sag
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It’s designed to look like the bow of a ship, stretching for more than 3,600 feet over the Polcevera River. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Renzo Piano reveals design to replace collapsed Genoa bridge," 21 Dec. 2018 As the tug-of-war unfolds, the water board's proposal is a stark reminder of how California's water supply, a year after the drought officially ended, remains stretched perilously thin. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 Equinox will lead participants in a pre-race warm up and post-event cool down and stretching. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "North Shore Taco Fest adds spice to Highwood Days," 3 July 2018 But by stretching enforcement to cruel and unsustainable levels, the Trump administration has forced liberals to confront their own dubious role in the never-ending battle over who gets to stay in America. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Draconian Immigration Policies Highlight Obama’s Missteps," 20 June 2018 The Indian Health Service is also planning an independent review of its handling of the case of Mr. Weber stretching back to his first days at the agency in the mid-1980s, at a hospital in Ada, Okla., that the IHS ran at the time. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "HHS to Review Indian Health Service After Revelations on Pedophile Doctor," 13 Feb. 2019 But make no mistake: Trump’s ties to shady Russian figures stretch back decades, and Unger diligently pieces them together in one place. Sean Illing, Vox, "Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades," 8 Dec. 2018 The Romaniote Jews who gather here are descended from Jewish communities whose presence stretches back more than 2,000 years. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 Though the allegations stretched back to the 1960s, recent incidents cast doubt on whether church officials had gotten the message about reporting such activity to the police and social services. Danica Kirka, Fox News, "UK inquiry: Monks hid sex abuse to protect church reputation," 9 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The stretch in Illinois is a straight shot across mostly flat terrain. Paul Overberg, WSJ, "High-Speed Rail in the U.S. Remains Elusive: Illinois Shows Why," 4 Mar. 2019 Using incentives for cleaner vehicles, particularly electric cars, the government aims to clear the home stretch in decarbonization. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Costa Rica has an ambitious new climate policy — but no, it’s not banning fossil fuels," 17 July 2018 But for a stretch of three Finals in four years, the NBA had three surprise champs. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "NBA superteams haven't won all the championships: 5 surprise winners," 9 July 2018 One was a nine-minute stretch in the second half of its round of 16 game with Argentina; the other was in its final friendly before the World Cup, when the U.S. carried a lead into the final 12 minutes before settling for a 1-1 tie. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "A little Pep talk is giving England a World Cup boost," 8 July 2018 That's the longest road hit streak by a Texas player since Adrian Beltre's 19-game stretch in 2013. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Shin-Soo Choo ties Julio Franco's Rangers' on-base record," 7 July 2018 But who was Barkov’s other winger during those stretches in 2016-17? Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Does it matter who Panthers center Aleksander Barkov's linemates are?," 6 July 2018 Along Shanghai’s Huangpu River, the Bund waterfront features a long stretch of Chinese flags in an area once occupied by the British after the Opium Wars. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 Shaffer briefly operated a hamburger stand in Indianapolis and hauled coal with the fourth member of the gang, Charles Geiseking, another petty thief who did a stretch in prison. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "'Kill-Crazy' Brady gang tried to out-gangster John Dillinger," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Stretch marks, scars from skin tears as skin expands, can also fade but might not go away. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Women who've had babies look different. Here's how pregnancy can permanently change a body," 30 Aug. 2017 At 6-8, Bogdanovic is an athletic forward versatile enough to play the stretch power forward in certain lineups and situations. Nate Taylor, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Bojan Bogdanovic brought to Pacers as a starter," 11 July 2017 Stretch dough to cover as much of the pan as possible, being careful not to tear the dough. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Foods rich in carotenoids may help age-related vision loss.," 9 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stretch.' 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 stretch

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stretch

Verb

Middle English strecchen, from Old English streccan; akin to Old High German strecchan to stretch, Old English stræc firm, severe

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Learn More about stretch

Statistics for stretch

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stretch

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

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More Definitions for stretch

stretch

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stretch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to make (something) wider or longer by pulling it
: to become longer or wider when pulled
: to put your arms, legs, etc., in positions that make the muscles long and tight

stretch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stretch (Entry 2 of 3)

: a continuous area or length of land or water
: a continuous period of time
informal : a period of time spent in prison

stretch

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stretch (Entry 3 of 3)

: made to stretch easily and then return to the original shape and size

stretch

verb
\ ˈstrech How to pronounce stretch (audio) \
stretched; stretching

Kids Definition of stretch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to reach out : extend, spread I stretched my neck to see better.
2 : to pull or draw out in length or width or both : expand, enlarge Don't stretch my sweater.
3 : to extend (as the body) in a flat position I stretched out on the bed.
4 : to extend the body or limbs You should stretch before exercising.
5 : to pull tight Stretch the canvas over a frame.
6 : to cause to reach or continue A wire was stretched between two posts.
7 : exaggerate I think you're stretching the truth.
8 : to become extended without breaking Rubber stretches easily.
9 : to extend over a continuous period His fascination with dinosaurs stretches back to childhood.

stretch

noun

Kids Definition of stretch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of extending or drawing out beyond ordinary or normal limits The story was a stretch of the imagination.
2 : the ability to be pulled or drawn out in length or width or both The fabric has a lot of stretch.
3 : the act or an instance of stretching the body or one of its parts
4 : a continuous extent in length, area, or time a short stretch of beach a long stretch of silence

stretch

transitive verb
\ ˈstrech How to pronounce stretch (audio) \

Medical Definition of stretch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to extend in length was told to stretch the leg muscles before running
2 : to enlarge or distend especially by force

intransitive verb

1 : to become extended in length or breadth
2 : to extend one's body or limbs

stretch

noun

Medical Definition of stretch (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of stretching : the state of being stretched a muscle or group of muscles in stretch— C. R. Houck

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Comments on stretch

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