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[dih-sten-did] /dɪˈstɛn dɪd/
increased, as in size, volume, etc.; expanded; dilated:
the distended nostrils of the terrified horse.
swollen, by or as by internal pressure, out of normal size or shape; protuberant:
distended wineskins; the distended arteries of his neck.
Origin of distended
First recorded in 1590-1600; distend + -ed2
Related forms
distendedly, adverb
distendedness, noun


[dih-stend] /dɪˈstɛnd/
verb (used with or without object)
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.
1375-1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French destendre) < Latin distendere, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + tendere to stretch
Related forms
distender, noun
overdistend, verb
undistend, verb (used with object)
1. See expand. 1, 2. enlarge, bloat.
1, 2. shrink, contract. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for distended
Historical Examples
  • I spin the finest wool of our flocks, and drain the distended udders of our cows.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • The horse, with lathering neck and distended nostrils, paused before them.

    The Plunderer Roy Norton
  • Mills emitted an enormous cloud of smoke out of his distended cheeks.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • They shuddered, whinnied, glared with distended, bloodshot eyes.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • To begin with he distended himself so that he could not sink at all.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Mr. Pimble continued to stare on the woman, with distended eyeballs.

    Eventide Effie Afton
  • Once more, for a moment, her eyes were distended, her form was tense.

    The Devil's Paw E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • They may be seen so distended after their night's work that they can scarcely fly.

    India and the Indians Edward F. Elwin
  • He stared at the lovely apparition with fixed eyes and distended jaws.

    Burlesques William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Fido, with burning eyes and distended jaws, ran and yelped as if he were mad.

British Dictionary definitions for distended


to expand or be expanded by or as if by pressure from within; swell; inflate
(transitive) to stretch out or extend
(transitive) to magnify in importance; exaggerate
Derived Forms
distender, noun
distensible, adjective
distensibility, noun
distension, distention, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for distended



c.1400, from Latin distendere "to swell or stretch out, extend," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Related: Distended; distending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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distended in Medicine

distend di·stend (dĭ-stěnd')
v. dis·tend·ed, dis·tend·ing, dis·tends
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.
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