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

That support stretched beyond his base to other minority sects in Syria and some middle- and upper-class Sunnis who regard his family rule as a bulwark of stability in the face of Islamic radicals. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 Height: Low | Weight: 10.9 oz (M), 9.6 oz (W) | Upper: 3D stretch air mesh | Waterproof: No Runner’s World gave this shoe its Editor’s Choice award for the best running shoes of the year. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Hiking Boots for Exploring the Outdoors," 9 Apr. 2019 During impact, individual neurons can be stretched and damaged. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 4 Feb. 2019 There, a politician stretched budgets to woo the tech giant and came under fire from watchdogs for cutting a secretive deal that will have vast implications for the community. Josh Dzieza, The Verge, "An interview with Reply All’s Sruthi Pinnamaneni," 6 Dec. 2018 Avalon’s itineraries stretch deep into South and Southeast Asia, too, with river cruises of the Ganges in India, the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, and the Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cruise Lines in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Depending on the season, Moore’s workday can stretch late into the night. Joshua David Stein, Town & Country, "When a New Jordan is Released, This Sneaker Authenticator Is Hard at Work for Weeks," 17 Sep. 2018 To face down this formidable foe, Lenovo has stretched its new, top-of-the-line ThinkPad X1 Extreme to accommodate a 15-inch display (14 inches had been the maximum before). Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "Why did Lenovo stretch the ThinkPad X1 Extreme to 15 inches? To kill the MacBook Pro," 30 Aug. 2018 Rampant patches of wildflowers stretch out before you as native birds call to each other. Discover Magazine, "Why Hiking in Beaver Creek is Perfect for Budding Naturalists," 7 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My teeth are clenched from the intensity of the stretch and also from the awkwardness of being in an intimate, wide-open position under fluorescent lighting with a complete stranger. Melissa Malamut, Glamour, "Expensive Exercise Recovery Classes Are Taking Over Fitness Studios—but Are They Worth It?," 3 May 2019 With the Mandarin Oriental picking Godahl Beach, one of the most picturesque stretches of sand in the whole region, as their first property in the Caribbean, Canouan is now a must-visit destination. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "The Best Room At ... The Mandarin Oriental Canouan," 9 Apr. 2019 This is by far the most receiving yards in any 10-game stretch without a touchdown since at least 1960, topping Keyshawn Johnson’s 905 for the 2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Stats LLC. Michael Salfino, WSJ, "Julio Jones Needs a Map for the End Zone," 11 Oct. 2018 Floodwaters already receding on one stretch of Interstate 40 left thousands of rotting fish on the pavement for firefighters to clean up. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Florence could trigger 'record' flooding in South Carolina; thousands urged to evacuate," 24 Sep. 2018 Mayor and residents disagree This one stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam California dam repairs will cost billions. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection," 5 July 2018 Days off Monday and Thursday will allow the bullpen to recuperate before the Cubs begin a 10-game stretch without a day off to conclude the first half. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Until Yu Darvish returns, Jose Quintana says he and other Cubs starters will 'have his back'," 29 June 2018 After starting the 10-game stretch by splitting four games against Boston at home, Seattle was swept in New York. Mike Digiovanna, latimes.com, "Recent rough patch shows Mariners might have a tough time ending their playoff drought," 23 June 2018 In December, for example, her Descanso ranch lost electricity on 10 days, including one 5-day stretch. David R. Baker, SFChronicle.com, "For PG&E, cutting power could prevent fires and save lives — and costs," 23 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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Statistics for stretch

Last Updated

12 May 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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