- to expand by stretching, as something hollow or elastic: Habitual overeating had distended his stomach.
- to spread in all directions; expand; swell: The sea distended about them.
Origin of distend
1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French destendre) < Latin distendere, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + tendere to stretch
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. See expand. 1, 2. enlarge, bloat.
1, 2. shrink, contract.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for distend
You will find it impossible to breathe, for the muscles of your chest will distend the ribs.The Best Made Plans
Everett B. Cole
All the blood in him seemed to rush to his head and distend the veins there.The Free Range
Francis William Sullivan
To distend is to stretch apart or spread in all directions; to dilate, to expand.Orthography
Elmer W. Cavins
Furl—To roll up and make sails fast so that the wind cannot distend them.On Yacht Sailing
Thomas Fleming Day
He could talk now, could distend his nerves in the warm air of her sympathy.Sanctuary
- to expand or be expanded by or as if by pressure from within; swell; inflate
- (tr) to stretch out or extend
- (tr) to magnify in importance; exaggerate
C14: from Latin distendere, from dis- 1 + tendere to stretch
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
Word Origin and History for distend
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To swell out or expand or cause to swell out or expand from or as if from internal pressure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.