\ 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



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



Definition of stretch (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Other Words from stretch


stretchability \ ˌstre-​chə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce stretch (audio) \ noun
stretchable \ ˈstre-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce stretch (audio) \ adjective
stretchy \ ˈstre-​chē How to pronounce stretch (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Her team, around 70 percent Black and representing a historically Black college with roots that stretch to the 1890s, had been enjoying the trip home after playing in a tournament in Florida. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 13 May 2022 Lines are forming at service stations in major cities, small villages and roadside stops along the highways that stretch over the countryside. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 Within an hour, hundreds of riders will roll down the road in an event that can stretch into the early morning, led only by the whims of whoever happens to be in front. The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2022 It's designed with deep corners that can stretch up to 21 inches, fitting over even the thickest of mattresses. Amy Schulman,, 9 May 2022 The breadth of the barrier reef and the sheer volume of islands that stretch across it make Belize an open-water paddler’s dream. Graham Averill, Outside Online, 7 May 2022 Don't miss Clear Lake and Sahalie Falls, two Instagram-worthy spots that provide an opportunity to get out and stretch your legs while taking in nature's wonder. Rebecca Deurlein, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2022 Get out and stretch your legs at pullouts along the way. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 1 Apr. 2022 The easy trail is a great place to stretch your legs after a long drive and get close to nature without fully committing to a wooded endeavor. Kaitlyn Wylde, Vogue, 3 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There was one anxious stretch when Tatum picked up his fourth foul with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Globe Staff,, 15 May 2022 That goal was a stretch then, when gyms were closed down as a result of the pandemic. Laura Forman, WSJ, 10 May 2022 In fact, making a program of Beethoven or even Shubert with Bologne is not an impossible stretch either. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 9 May 2022 But his key 100 meters of the day was the final stretch of the 400. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2022 Another move rooted in yoga asanas, this is an excellent warm-up stretch. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 28 Apr. 2022 So the performance is not really a stretch for him. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 Krakauer’s detractors have long argued that his attempt to link 19th-century violence to 1980s murders was a stretch, if not entirely invalid. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 Their matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins poses as another measuring stick in what has been a stretch of measuring-stick games. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Great expanses of cracking mud, half a mile wide, stretch beyond the river banks, devoid of a single plant or blade of grass. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 May 2022 Morrison’s vocals stretch and bend words; her voice is delicate yet strong, and moves with ease between a vulnerable croon and the wail of hurt. Marjua Estevez,, 27 Apr. 2022 The starting point in our last collection was the idea of bringing the idea of motion back into the cut of the clothes, using stretch materials for example or ways of cutting that allow and celebrate movement. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, 22 Apr. 2022 The artist strives not to collect the most toys, rack up virtual kills or race to the jackpot square but simply to be in the game, map its corners, make time stretch — and maybe figure out a way to hack this world, change the rules and free us all. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Some fabrics have less stretch than others and will fit tighter, such as 100% polyester. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 Tylor Megill and David Peterson have been stretch out to five innings and were featured in the starting rotation last season. Andrew Tredinnick, USA TODAY, 2 Apr. 2022 Oregon State women’s basketball suffered a blow to its stretch drive as third-year sophomore Taylor Jones is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. oregonlive, 4 Feb. 2022 The La Brea, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, was won by Kalypso ($19.60 to win) with a strong stretch drive finishing 4 ¾ lengths in front. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of stretch


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


1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stretch


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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stretch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for stretch


\ 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.



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


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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on stretch

Nglish: Translation of stretch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stretch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stretch


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