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

Three Floyds Distilling aims for similar brashness, while also honoring an American distilling tradition stretching back hundreds of years. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Three Floyds launches distillery with the iconic brewery's same 'it's not normal' point of view," 6 June 2019 Muffler and Reddy’s dispute with Stonebridge Run’s management company stretches back several years, according to documents filed in both the civil and criminal cases against then. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "A Bucks County couple kept 31 cats in squalor. A new state law is helping prosecute them.," 7 July 2018 Like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now,’ this was a collection that stretched your gulliver wide open but was worth the stretching: horrorshow fashion show. Vogue, "The Top 12 Collections of the Fall 2019 Menswear Season," 23 Jan. 2019 Never put bras in the dryer. Lay them flat on a towel to dry instead of hanging, which can stretch them out. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How Gross Are Your Laundry Habits?," 21 Sep. 2018 This micro sunroom flows into a tiny living space whose walls are flanked with bookshelves and a daybed for stretching out with a good novel. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This modern backyard reading retreat is a dream," 22 Aug. 2018 Wearing the same bra for more than three days in a row can stretch it out. Elizabeth Denton, Seventeen, "12 Genius Tips For Finding The Right Size Bra For You," 2 Aug. 2018 Reality: To fill a large wall, Paige took a series of four botanical butterfly images and stretched them. Marni Jameson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "7 mistakes rookie DIY decorators make," 13 July 2018 Nunez was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Sale Helps Red Sox Win Ninth Straight, 4-2 Over Texas," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Toronto’s unexpected ploy threw off Golden State for an extended stretch, at least until a wide-open Iguodala buried a 3 from the left wing to effectively end the game. Ben Golliver, The Denver Post, "As Warriors’ injuries mount, Stephen Curry is picking up more of the slack," 5 June 2019 Length: 2,448 miles | Region: West/Midwest No list of road trips would be complete without this east-west stretch, which spans from Chicago to Los Angeles. Juliet Izon, Woman's Day, "The 12 Most Scenic Drives in the Country to Add to Your Bucket List ASAP," 4 Dec. 2018 The stretches, totaling nearly 40 miles, accounted for 97 fatal crashes and 101 fatalities, the AJC previously reported. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Driving in Atlanta is painful — but it’s far from the worst," 11 July 2018 Responders temporarily closed traffic in lanes No. 3 and 4 lanes for approximately a mile-long stretch, north of the incident, as well as the on- and offramps near 47th Avenue. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Out-of-control truck hits CHP motorcycle and another vehicle during traffic stop," 10 July 2018 Padre Island, the nation’s longest stretch of undeveloped beach, is the primary nesting ground for the species. Alex Park, Houston Chronicle, "Critically endangered sea turtle species now at Texas State Aquarium," 5 July 2018 Ramona Design Review Board chairman Rob Lewallen said ideally commercial projects would be allowed in a wider territory to broaden the commercial district as opposed to the narrow, elongated stretch of the Ramona Village Center. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Design groups weigh mixed-use densities, historic trees," 3 July 2018 The Warm UpFormerly known as a bend and snap, when slowed down, this move becomes a stretch that will loosen up your legs and back for the work ahead. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Janet Jackson! How to Get Her Rock-Hard Body in 12 GIFS," 16 May 2019 Are sunshiney-blonde highlights a stretch, Natalie? Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Natalie Portman's Hair Is Super Short Now and Looks Amazing in a Bob," 30 Apr. 2019

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

9 Jun 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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