from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To swell out or expand, especially from internal pressure.
  • intransitive verb To cause to expand, especially from internal pressure; dilate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To stretch or spread in all directions; dilate; expand; swell out; enlarge: as, to distend a bladder; to distend the lungs.
  • To stretch in any direction; extend.
  • To widen; spread apart.
  • To become distended; swell.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To become expanded or inflated; to swell.
  • transitive verb rare To extend in some one direction; to lengthen out; to stretch.
  • transitive verb To stretch out or extend in all directions; to dilate; to enlarge, as by elasticity of parts; to inflate so as to produce tension; to cause to swell

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To extend or expand, as from internal pressure; to swell
  • verb transitive, reflexive, archaic To extend; to stretch out; to spread out.
  • verb transitive To cause to swell.
  • verb biology To cause gravidity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb become wider
  • verb cause to expand as it by internal pressure
  • verb swell from or as if from internal pressure


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English distenden, from Latin distendere : dis-, dis- + tendere, to stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]


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