stretch

verb
\ ˈstrech \
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 \ noun
stretchable \ ˈstre-​chə-​bəl \ adjective
stretchy \ ˈstre-​chē \ 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

The central terminal, called Terminal B, is being torn down piece-by-piece to make room for new construction, a process that will stretch out to 2022. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "Airports Try Stall Tactic: Better Bathrooms," 2 Jan. 2019 When the tide is low, visitors will be able to walk between the two buildings on a pathway that stretches into the ocean. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Otherworldly new museum is built into a sand dune," 17 Dec. 2018 Before the silver hair, Jenner's latest look had been long, blonde mermaid hair that stretched past her waist. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Dyed Her Hair Silver and Looks Totally Different," 14 Nov. 2018 Even with the apps that stretch the full width of the iPad screen (such as YouTube and Google Docs), there’s a black bar behind the virtual home bar. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Netflix updated its app to resolve an early annoyance with Apple’s new iPad Pro," 12 Nov. 2018 Zendaya hit the movie's premiere on Saturday night and was rocking a ponytail braid that stretched all the way down to her waist. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Zendaya's Hair at the "Smallfoot” Red Carpet Premiere Took Inspiration From Her Character," 24 Sep. 2018 Writing fiction is an exercise that stretches an author’s imagination to its limits. Constance Grady, Vox, "Revisiting the legacy of Joyce Maynard, the teenager Salinger had an affair with," 8 Sep. 2018 After several trials, which are expected to take at least two weeks, the vessel will head toward the chunk of garbage that now stretches 600,000 square miles between California and Hawaii. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Texas-sized 'island' of trash in ocean, to be tackled by giant floating vessel," 7 Sep. 2018 Views extend onto the shimmering blue sea that wraps the horizon; not a soul about, other than the odd village dog and fisherman strolling along the rocky beach that stretches out in front of me. Skye Mcalpine, Vogue, "Pistachio Pesto and Almond Granita: Skye McAlpine Discovers the Tastes of the Aeolian Islands," 23 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 39 shows that ran grossed $57.8 million for the seven-day stretch, a record for Broadway overall, according to the Broadway League. Charles Passy, WSJ, "With Another Record Week, ‘Hamilton’ Proves It Has Many Acts to Go," 2 Jan. 2019 Joseph was fired by Denver on Monday after a 6-10 finish and an 11-21 mark in his two seasons, the worst two-year stretch for the Broncos since the 1960s. Joe Kay, The Seattle Times, "Former Broncos coach Joseph set to interview for Bengals job," 2 Jan. 2019 This usually means that you’re fully relaxing into the stretch. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why This Holiday Break Is a Perfect Time to Start Foam-Rolling," 28 Dec. 2018 Still, that brought an end to a brief stretch when China’s emissions had actually declined from a 2013 peak. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Wrong way: 2018 global CO₂ emissions tick up again," 6 Dec. 2018 The materials used for the fitness pieces has four-way stretch, protects you from harmful UV rays, and features EleVen pro-dri for quick-dry performance and breathability. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Your First Look at Venus Williams' "Morning Glory" Collection for EleVen," 28 Nov. 2018 Frustrated when your digestive system has no regard for your need for long, unbroken stretches of sleep? Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "BREAKING: Mystery of Square Wombat Poop Revealed," 20 Nov. 2018 Except for a few short stretches, the state is flanked almost entirely by those islands, which are susceptible to flooding and storm surges. Ben Finley, Fox News, "AP Explains: Why North Carolina is vulnerable to hurricanes," 12 Sep. 2018 Last year, hurricanes knocked many drug factories in Puerto Rico and southern states out of commission for long stretches. Washington Post, "FDA to more aggressively tackle disruptive drug shortages," 12 July 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

6 Jan 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

: 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 \
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 \

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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