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

The definition of that proviso could have been stretched to meet all practical requirements (33 years later, the Star Wars technology is nowhere near useful deployment). The Economist, "Reagan and Gorbachev’s tantalising nuclear talks in Reykjavik," 17 Aug. 2019 Participate in an upbeat dance class that begins with a warm up to strengthen, stretch and improve flexibility and then moves into footwork, rhythm and isolations. Alan Goch, sun-sentinel.com, "Palm Beach central and north county events for Aug. 14-20," 14 Aug. 2019 Angry residents at the meeting talked of how school taxes could rise, and public resources could be stretched in the town, about 60 miles north of New York City. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "‘Keep the Hasidic Out’: A Small-Town Housing Showdown," 14 Aug. 2019 The Bears were in dire need of a speed element for their offense last season and went and signed a speedy target who can stretch the opposing defense. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "Bears Q&A: How did the Browns get more for Duke Johnson than the Bears did for Jordan Howard? Is Taylor Gabriel still the fastest Bear? Will Javon Wims make the 53-man roster?," 14 Aug. 2019 Vincenzo Montella was a diminutive Italian winger who nailed a celebration early in his career, out-stretching his arms and running around miming an aeroplane. SI.com, "Footballers' Nicknames: 15 of the Weirdest & Most Wonderful Monikers in the Beautiful Game," 14 Aug. 2019 The heat alerts Tuesday stretched to the upstate area of South Carolina. Washington Post, "National digest: Southern states are under heat advisories and warnings," 14 Aug. 2019 The ancient Scythians occupied a vast area, encompassing parts of what are now Russia and Ukraine, and stretched as far as central Asia. Fox News, "Ancient arrowheads from the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem discovered," 13 Aug. 2019 The river begins in the Tibetan plateau and stretches through China before discharging into the East China Sea at Shanghai. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Welsh Man Is First to Walk the Length of the Yangtze River," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shot was taken during the final stretch to summit the tallest mountain in the world. Megan Gambino, Smithsonian, "New Rules Could Determine Who Gets to Climb Everest," 16 Aug. 2019 Trump Tower will be getting a new address if a MoveOn petition created to rename the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets in New York City after President Barack Obama is successful. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Petition To Rename Trump Tower ‘Obama Avenue’ Receives 270,000 Signatures," 15 Aug. 2019 Parham was a sophomore during that title season and was a part of a dominant run that included a 43-10 record during a four-year stretch. Evan Dudley, al, "‘Last go-around’: Kendall Parham leads UAB’s eager receiving corps," 13 Aug. 2019 Garrett served the first of his eight-gamer last night, during a stretch when the Club plays 10 games in 10 days, its slight postseason chances squarely on the ropes. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: What a show Aristides Aquino is putting on for the Cincinnati Reds," 13 Aug. 2019 Portland went 3-0-2 during a stretch of five games in 15 days in July. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Depth has been crucial to Portland Timbers during busy stretch," 13 Aug. 2019 DeGrom, Syndergaard and Wheeler have combined for 10 starts with a cumulative 1.20 E.R.A. during this stretch. Joe Lemire, New York Times, "The Mets’ Latest August Run Stalls, but Optimism Abounds," 11 Aug. 2019 But Indy lost three of its final four — coach Tony Dungy's son committed suicide during that stretch — the final loss coming when Vanderjagt shanked a game-tying field-goal attempt in the final seconds of a 21-18 home playoff loss to Pittsburgh. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "USA Today ranks 2005 Colts over 2006 Super Bowl winners among top 100 teams," 7 Aug. 2019 During that stretch, the Pistons were 10 points better per 100 possessions when Drummond was on the floor, easily the best number on the team. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond reveals his one beer-per-day diet," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Justin Smith and Race Thompson are both third-year players with the potential athleticism and versatility to play as stretch fours, or perhaps even at the three in a pinch. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "With plenty of frontcourt options, Trayce Jackson-Davis remains wild card for IU basketball," 29 May 2019 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

18 Aug 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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