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

  • intransitive verb To lengthen, widen, or distend.
  • intransitive verb To cause to extend from one place to another or across a given space.
  • intransitive verb To make taut; tighten.
  • intransitive verb To reach or put forth; extend.
  • intransitive verb To extend (oneself or one's limbs, for example) to full length.
  • intransitive verb To extend (oneself) when lying down.
  • intransitive verb To put to torture on the rack.
  • intransitive verb To wrench or strain (a muscle, for example).
  • intransitive verb To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits.
  • intransitive verb To subject to undue strain.
  • intransitive verb To expand in order to fulfill a larger function.
  • intransitive verb To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution.
  • intransitive verb To prolong.
  • intransitive verb Informal To fell by a blow.
  • intransitive verb To become lengthened, widened, or distended.
  • intransitive verb To extend or reach over a distance or area or in a given direction.
  • intransitive verb To lie down at full length.
  • intransitive verb To extend one's muscles or limbs, as after prolonged sitting or on awakening.
  • intransitive verb To extend over a given period of time.
  • noun The act of stretching or the state of being stretched.
  • noun The extent or scope to which something can be stretched; elasticity.
  • noun A continuous or unbroken length, area, or expanse.
  • noun A straight section of a racecourse or track, especially the section leading to the finish line.
  • noun A continuous period of time.
  • noun Slang A term of imprisonment.
  • noun Informal The last stage of an event, period, or process.
  • noun Baseball A series of movements in which a pitcher, standing with the glove side facing home plate, raises both hands to the height of the head and then lowers them to the chest or waist for a short pause before pitching the ball. It is used especially when runners are on base because it gives base runners less time to steal than they have during a full windup.
  • adjective Made of an elastic material that stretches easily.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being a vehicle, such as a limousine or passenger jet, having an extended seating area that provides extra space for more passengers, leg room, or amenities.
  • idiom (stretch (one's) legs) To go for a walk, especially after a lengthy period of sitting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A stretching or straining, especially a stretching or straining beyond measure: as, a stretch of authority.
  • noun A state of tension; strain: as, to be on the stretch.
  • noun Reach; extent; scope.
  • noun A long tract; an extended or continued surface or area, relatively narrow; a reach; distance; sweep: as, a long stretch of country road; a great stretch of grassy land; a stretch of moorland.
  • noun One of the two straight sides of a race-course, as distinguished from the bend or curve at each end.
  • noun Nautical, the reach or extent of progress on one tack; a tack.
  • noun In weaving: The plot of ground on which a weaver stretches his warp.
  • noun Tho length of spun-yarn between the spindles and roller-beam, which is wound upon the spindles each time the carriage is run toward the roller-beam. Also called draw.
  • noun A single continued effort; one uninterrupted sitting, diet, shift, turn, or the like: as, to work ten hours at a stretch.
  • noun A year's imprisonment or punishment.
  • noun Course; direction: as, the stretch of seams of coal.
  • noun Stride; bound, as of a running animal.
  • noun The traverse of the spindle-carriage of a spinning-mule.
  • noun Capability of being stretched; elasticity; capacity for yielding.
  • To draw (out); pull (out).
  • To draw out to full length; extend; expand; spread: as, to stretch one's self; to stretch the wings; to stretch one's legs; hence, sometimes, to tighten; make tense or taut.


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

[Middle English strecchen, from Old English streccan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English strecchen, from Old English streċċan ("to stretch, hold out, extend, spread out, prostrate"), from Proto-Germanic *strakjanan, *strakkijanan (“to stretch, make taut or tight”), from Proto-Indo-European *streg-, *treg- (“stiff, rigid”). Cognate with Dutch strekken ("to stretch, straighten"), German strecken ("to stretch, straighten, elongate"), Danish strække ("to stretch"), Swedish sträcka ("to stretch"), Dutch strak ("taut, tight"), Albanian shtriqem ("to stretch"). More at stark.


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  • noun. stretch of something, stretch of nature.

    January 29, 2012