Also, at one stretch. At one time, during one period. For example, Working quickly, she hoped to finish all the drawings at a stretch. In contrast to the nearly synonymous at a sitting, this idiom, first recorded in 1774, does not imply being seated while engaging in a single continuous activity. Rather, it transfers the meaning of stretch as “a continuous length” to “a continuous time period.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.