[ reech ]
/ ritʃ /
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See synonyms for: reach / reached / reaches / reaching on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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Origin of reach

before 900; (v.) Middle English rechen,Old English rǣcan (cognate with German reichen,Dutch reiken); (noun) derivative of the v.

synonym study for reach

See grasp.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What is a basic definition of reach?

Reach means to arrive at, to extend, or to touch by stretching toward something. Reach has many other senses as a verb and a noun.

If you reach somewhere, you successfully arrive there. If you reached the bank by noon, for example, you managed to get to the bank by noon. The word reach often implies lengthy travel or that the journey had some challenges along the way. Reach can also be used figuratively to mean someone achieved a position or got to a certain state. For example, a child reaches adulthood when they turn 18.

  • Real-life examples: The sun’s rays reach the Earth after traveling through space. Baby turtles must navigate the dangers of the beach before they reach the water. Students may need to run quickly to reach the school bus before it leaves.
  • Used in a sentence: Lana reached a dark point in her life where nothing seemed to matter. 

Reach can also mean to extend or to stretch out. This sense is often followed with the direction something is being extended into.

  • Real-life examples: Plants reach toward the sky to gather more sunlight. You reach your hand out in order to give someone a handshake. A cat’s fur will reach up when they are scared.
  • Used in a sentence: The police ordered the criminal to reach his hands into the air. 

Lastly, reach means to successfully touch something, especially by stretching out a limb or object.

  • Real-life examples: You might need a ladder in order to reach something stuck on your roof. Giraffes have long necks that make it easy for them to reach leaves high in the trees. Grocery stores put sugary snacks on lower shelves so that children can reach them.
  • Used in a sentence: Erin was too short to reach the cereal on the top shelf.

Where does reach come from?

The first records of reach come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English verb rǣcan and is related to other words with the same meaning, such as the German reichen or the Dutch reiken.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to reach?

  • reacher (noun)
  • reachable (adjective)
  • reachability (noun)
  • unreachable (adjective)
  • unreached (adjective)

What are some synonyms for reach?

What are some words that share a root or word element with reach

What are some words that often get used in discussing reach?

How is reach used in real life?

Reach is a common word that most often means to arrive somewhere or to stretch out.

Try using reach!

Is reach used correctly in the following sentence?

I reached my arm across the table to grab some chips out of the bowl on the far side.

How to use reach in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for reach

/ (riːtʃ) /


Derived forms of reach

reachable, adjectivereacher, noun

Word Origin for reach

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with reach


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.