[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. distelfink,
  2. distemper,
  3. distemperature,
  4. distemperoid,
  5. distend,
  6. distensible,
  7. distensile,
  8. distension,
  9. distent,
  10. distention

Origin of distended

First recorded in 1590–1600; distend + -ed2

Related formsdis·tend·ed·ly, adverbdis·tend·ed·ness, 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.

Origin of distend

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French destendre) < Latin distendere, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + tendere to stretch

1. See expand. 1, 2. enlarge, bloat.

Related formsdis·tend·er, nouno·ver·dis·tend, verbun·dis·tend, verb (used with object)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distended

British Dictionary definitions for distended


/ (dɪˈstɛnd) /


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
Derived Formsdistender, noundistensible, adjectivedistensibility, noundistension or distention, noun

Word Origin for distend

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 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

Medicine definitions for distended


[ dĭ-stĕnd ]


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.