Synonyms & Antonyms of distend

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About distend

How does the verb distend differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of distend are amplify, dilate, expand, inflate, and swell. While all these words mean "to increase in size or volume," distend implies outward extension caused by pressure from within.

a distended abdomen

When can amplify be used instead of distend?

The words amplify and distend can be used in similar contexts, but amplify implies the extension or enlargement of something inadequate.

amplify the statement with details

When might dilate be a better fit than distend?

The words dilate and distend are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dilate applies especially to expansion of circumference.

dilated pupils

In what contexts can expand take the place of distend?

Although the words expand and distend have much in common, expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (such as growth, unfolding, addition of parts).

a business that expands every year

When is it sensible to use inflate instead of distend?

The meanings of inflate and distend largely overlap; however, inflate implies expanding by introduction of air or something insubstantial and suggests a vulnerability to sudden collapse.

an inflated ego

When is swell a more appropriate choice than distend?

While the synonyms swell and distend are close in meaning, swell implies gradual expansion beyond a thing's original or normal limits.

the bureaucracy swelled to unmanageable proportions

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About distend

Time Traveler for distend

Time Traveler

The first known use of distend was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About distend

Thesaurus Entries Near distend




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Distend.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on distend

Nglish: Translation of distend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distend for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!