Synonym Chooser

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

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Cite this Entry

“Distend.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distend. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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