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broad reach

noun, Nautical.
See under reach (def 27).


[reech] /ritʃ/
verb (used with object)
to get to or get as far as in moving, going, traveling, etc.:
The boat reached the shore.
to come to or arrive at in some course of progress, action, etc.:
Your letter never reached me.
to succeed in touching or seizing with an outstretched hand, a pole, etc.:
to reach a book on a high shelf.
to stretch or hold out; extend:
reaching out a hand in greeting.
to stretch or extend so as to touch or meet:
The bookcase reaches the ceiling.
to establish communication with:
I called but couldn't reach you.
to amount to, as in the sum or total:
The cost will reach millions.
to penetrate to:
distant stars the eye cannot reach.
to succeed in striking or hitting, as with a weapon or missile:
The artillery fire reached the shore.
to succeed in making contact with, influencing, impressing, interesting, convincing, etc.:
a program that reached a large teenage audience.
verb (used without object)
to make a stretch, as with the hand or arm.
to become outstretched, as the hand or arm.
to make a movement or effort as if to touch or seize something:
to reach for a weapon.
to extend in operation or effect:
power that reaches throughout the land.
to stretch in space; extend in direction, length, distance, etc.:
a coat reaching to the knee; a tower reaching to the skies.
to extend or continue in time.
to get or come to a specified place, person, condition, etc. (often followed by to).
to amount (often followed by to):
sums reaching to a considerable total.
to penetrate:
Fields of flowers extended as far as the eye could reach.
to assert or agree without certainty or sufficient evidence; infer hastily:
I'd be reaching if I said I had the answer to your question.
  1. to sail on a reach.
  2. to sail with the wind forward of the beam but so as not to require sailing close-hauled.
an act or instance of reaching:
to make a reach for a gun.
the extent or distance of reaching:
within reach of his voice.
range of effective action, power, or capacity.
a continuous stretch or extent of something:
a reach of woodland.
Also called pound. a level portion of a canal, between locks.
Nautical. a point of sailing in which the wind is within a few points of the beam, either forward of the beam (close reach) directly abeam (beam reach) or abaft the beam (broad reach)
the pole connecting the rear axle of a wagon to the transverse bar or bolster over the front axle supporting the wagon bed.
a straight portion of a river between two bends.
Origin of reach
before 900; (v.) Middle English rechen, Old English rǣcan (cognate with German reichen, Dutch reiken); (noun) derivative of the v.
Related forms
reachable, adjective
reachability, noun
reacher, noun
unreachable, adjective
unreached, adjective
1. attain. 24. area, sphere, scope.
Synonym Study
See grasp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for broad reach
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On our left was a wood, and on our right a broad reach of meadow.

    A Residence in France J. Fenimore Cooper
  • Where we first approached it the bank was high and firm, the water forming a broad reach evidently very deep.

  • A broad reach of the Coln and a grand waterfall enhance the quiet and peaceful beauty of the scene.

    A Cotswold Village J. Arthur Gibbs
  • Here the broad reach was alive with them, and William begged hard to stop for the afternoon and pursue the gentle sport.

  • In turning an angle of the river, however, a broad reach stretched away before us.

  • They had literally climbed a long rapid one morning, and entered a broad reach of the river which resembled a lake in its extent.

    Rob Harlow's Adventures George Manville Fenn
  • On a broad reach of the Potomac the new-risen moon spread a vast sheet of tin-foil of a crinkled sheen.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
  • You get a view of it if you climb to the crest of the hill—a broad reach of barrens, fretted all day by the sea.

    Cape Breton Tales Harry James Smith
  • After a run from the west to east mark, they had a broad reach home in a fine breeze, 'Britannia' keeping bell-wether.

    Yachting Vol. 2 Various.
British Dictionary definitions for broad reach


(transitive) to arrive at or get to (a place, person, etc) in the course of movement or action: to reach the office
to extend as far as (a point or place): to reach the ceiling, can you reach?
(transitive) to come to (a certain condition, stage, or situation): to reach the point of starvation
(intransitive) to extend in influence or operation: the Roman conquest reached throughout England
(transitive) (informal) to pass or give (something to a person) with the outstretched hand: to reach someone a book
(intransitive; foll by out, for, or after) to make a movement (towards), as if to grasp or touch: to reach for something on a shelf
(intransitive; foll by for or after) to strive or yearn: to reach for the impossible
(transitive) to make contact or communication with (someone): we tried to reach him all day
(transitive) to strike, esp in fencing or boxing
(transitive) to amount to (a certain sum): to reach the five million mark
(intransitive) (nautical) to sail on a tack with the wind on or near abeam
the act of reaching
the extent or distance of reaching: within reach of safety, beyond her reach
the range of influence, power, jurisdiction, etc
an open stretch of water, esp on a river
(nautical) the direction or distance sailed by a vessel on one tack
a bar on the rear axle of a vehicle connecting it with some part at the front end
(television, radio) the percentage of the population selecting a broadcast programme or channel for more than a specified time during a day or week
(marketing) the proportion of a market that an advertiser hopes to reach at least once in a campaign
Derived Forms
reachable, adjective
reacher, noun
Word Origin
Old English rǣcan; related to Old Frisian rēka, Old High German reihhen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for broad reach



1520s, from reach (v.); earliest use is of stretches of water. Meaning "extent of reaching" is from 1540s; that of "act of reaching" is from 1560s.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

[Browning, "Andrea del Sarto"]



Old English ræcan, reccan "reach out, stretch out, extend, hold forth," also "succeed in touching, succeed in striking; address, speak to," also "offer, present, give, grant," from West Germanic *raikjan "stretch out the hand" (cf. Old Frisian reka, Middle Dutch reiken, Dutch reiken, Old High German and German reichen), from Proto-Germanic *raikijanau, perhaps from PIE root *reig- "to stretch out" (cf. Sanskrit rjyati "he stretches himself," riag "torture" (by racking); Greek oregein "to reach, extend;" Lithuanian raižius "to stretch oneself;" Old Irish rigim "I stretch").

Shakespeare uses the now-obsolete past tense form raught (Old English ræhte). Meaning "arrive at" is early 14c.; that of "succeed in influencing" is from 1660s. Related: Reached; reaching. Reach-me-down "ready-made" (of clothes) is recorded from 1862, from notion of being on the rack in a finished state.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with broad reach


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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