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

  • transitive v. To lengthen, widen, or distend: stretched the sweater out of shape.
  • transitive v. To cause to extend from one place to another or across a given space: stretched the banner between two poles.
  • transitive v. To make taut; tighten: stretched the tarpaulin until it ripped.
  • transitive v. To reach or put forth; extend: stretched out his hand.
  • transitive v. To extend (oneself or one's limbs, for example) to full length: stretched her calves before running.
  • transitive v. To extend (oneself) when lying down: she stretched herself out on the couch.
  • transitive v. To put to torture on the rack.
  • transitive v. To wrench or strain (a muscle, for example).
  • transitive v. To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits: stretch the meaning of a word.
  • transitive v. To subject to undue strain: to stretch one's patience.
  • transitive v. To expand in order to fulfill a larger function: stretch a budget; stretch a paycheck.
  • transitive v. To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution: stretch a meal by thinning the stew.
  • transitive v. To prolong: stretch out an argument.
  • transitive v. Informal To fell by a blow: stretched his opponent in the first round.
  • intransitive v. To become lengthened, widened, or distended.
  • intransitive v. To extend or reach over a distance or area or in a given direction: "On both sides of us stretched the wet plain” ( Ernest Hemingway).
  • intransitive v. To lie down at full length: stretched out on the bed.
  • intransitive v. To extend one's muscles or limbs, as after prolonged sitting or on awakening.
  • intransitive v. To extend over a given period of time: "This story stretches over a whole generation” ( William Golding).
  • n. The act of stretching or the state of being stretched.
  • n. The extent or scope to which something can be stretched; elasticity.
  • n. A continuous or unbroken length, area, or expanse: an empty stretch of highway.
  • n. A straight section of a racecourse or track, especially the section leading to the finish line.
  • n. A continuous period of time.
  • n. Slang A term of imprisonment: served a two-year stretch.
  • n. Informal The last stage of an event, period, or process.
  • n. Baseball A movement 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 as an alternative to a wind-up, especially when runners are on base.
  • adj. Made of an elastic material that stretches easily: stretch pants.
  • adj. 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To lengthen by pulling.
  • v. To lengthen when pulled.
  • v. To pull tight.
  • v. To get more use than expected from a limited resource.
  • v. To be inaccurate by exaggeration.
  • v. To extend from limit point to limit point.
  • v. To extend one’s limbs or body in order to stretch the muscles.
  • v. To extend to a limit point
  • v. to increase
  • n. An act of stretching.
  • n. The ability to lengthen when pulled.
  • n. A course of thought which similarly diverts from 'straight' logic
  • n. A segment of a journey or route.
  • n. A quick pitching delivery used when runners are on base where the pitcher slides his leg instead of lifting it.
  • n. A long reach in the direction of the ball with a foot remaining on the base by a first baseman in order to catch the ball sooner.
  • n. A length of time.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Act of stretching, or state of being stretched; reach; effort; struggle; strain.
  • n. A continuous line or surface; a continuous space of time.
  • n. The extent to which anything may be stretched.
  • n. The reach or extent of a vessel's progress on one tack; a tack or board.
  • n. Course; direction.
  • intransitive v. To be extended; to be drawn out in length or in breadth, or both; to spread; to reach.
  • intransitive v. To extend or spread one's self, or one's limbs.
  • intransitive v. To be extended, or to bear extension, without breaking, as elastic or ductile substances.
  • intransitive v. To strain the truth; to exaggerate.
  • intransitive v. To sail by the wind under press of canvas.
  • transitive v. To reach out; to extend; to put forth.
  • transitive v. To draw out to the full length; to cause to extend in a straight line.
  • transitive v. To cause to extend in breadth; to spread; to expand.
  • transitive v. To make tense; to tighten; to distend forcibly.
  • transitive v. To draw or pull out to greater length; to strain.
  • transitive v. To exaggerate; to extend too far.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To extend, or cause to reach or extend, lengthwise, or between specified points: as, to stretch a rope from one point to another.
  • To draw out or extend in any direction by the application of force; draw out by tensile stress: as, to stretch cloth; to stretch a rubber band beyond its strength.
  • To distend or expand forcibly or violently; strain by the exercise of force; subject to stress, literally or figuratively.
  • To extend or strain too far; impair by straining; do violence to; exaggerate: as, to stretch the truth.
  • To exert; strain.
  • To reach or hold out; put forth; extend.
  • To cause to lie or fall extended at full length: as, to stretch an opponent on the ground by a blow.
  • To hang.
  • To extend; reach; be continuous over a distance; be drawn out in length or in breadth, or both; spread.
  • To be extended or to bear extension without breaking, as elastic substances; attain greater length: literally or figuratively.
  • To go beyond the truth; exaggerate.
  • Nautical, to sail by the wind under all sail.
  • To make violent efforts in running.
  • n. A stretching or straining, especially a stretching or straining beyond measure: as, a stretch of authority.
  • n. A state of tension; strain: as, to be on the stretch.
  • n. Reach; extent; scope.
  • n. 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.
  • n. One of the two straight sides of a race-course, as distinguished from the bend or curve at each end.
  • n. Nautical, the reach or extent of progress on one tack; a tack.
  • n. In weaving: The plot of ground on which a weaver stretches his warp.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A single continued effort; one uninterrupted sitting, diet, shift, turn, or the like: as, to work ten hours at a stretch.
  • n. A year's imprisonment or punishment.
  • n. Course; direction: as, the stretch of seams of coal.
  • n. Stride; bound, as of a running animal.
  • n. The traverse of the spindle-carriage of a spinning-mule.
  • n. Capability of being stretched; elasticity; capacity for yielding.

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

  • n. the capacity for being stretched
  • adj. easily stretched
  • v. pull in opposite directions
  • adj. having an elongated seating area
  • n. a straightaway section of a racetrack
  • v. extend the scope or meaning of; often unduly
  • n. exercise designed to extend the limbs and muscles to their full extent
  • v. increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
  • n. an unbroken period of time during which you do something
  • v. extend one's limbs or muscles, or the entire body
  • v. become longer by being stretched and pulled
  • v. corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
  • v. occupy a large, elongated area
  • v. lie down comfortably
  • v. make long or longer by pulling and stretching
  • n. extension to or beyond the ordinary limit
  • v. extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length
  • v. extend one's body or limbs
  • n. a large and unbroken expanse or distance
  • n. the act of physically reaching or thrusting out


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