[ reech ]
See synonyms for reach on
verb (used with object)
  1. to get to or get as far as in moving, going, traveling, etc.: The boat reached the shore.

  2. to come to or arrive at in some course of progress, action, etc.: Your letter never reached me.

  1. to succeed in touching or seizing with an outstretched hand, a pole, etc.: to reach a book on a high shelf.

  2. to stretch or hold out; extend: reaching out a hand in greeting.

  3. to stretch or extend so as to touch or meet: The bookcase reaches the ceiling.

  4. to establish communication with: I called but couldn't reach you.

  5. to amount to, as in the sum or total: The cost will reach millions.

  6. to penetrate to: distant stars the eye cannot reach.

  7. to succeed in striking or hitting, as with a weapon or missile: The artillery fire reached the shore.

  8. to succeed in making contact with, influencing, impressing, interesting, convincing, etc.: a program that reached a large teenage audience.

verb (used without object)
  1. to make a stretch, as with the hand or arm.

  2. to become outstretched, as the hand or arm.

  1. to make a movement or effort as if to touch or seize something: to reach for a weapon.

  2. to extend in operation or effect: power that reaches throughout the land.

  3. to stretch in space; extend in direction, length, distance, etc.: a coat reaching to the knee;a tower reaching to the skies.

  4. to extend or continue in time.

  5. to get or come to a specified place, person, condition, etc. (often followed by to).

  6. to amount (often followed by to): sums reaching to a considerable total.

  7. to penetrate: Fields of flowers extended as far as the eye could reach.

  8. to assert or agree without certainty or sufficient evidence; infer hastily: I'd be reaching if I said I had the answer to your question.

  9. Nautical.

    • to sail on a reach.

    • to sail with the wind forward of the beam but so as not to require sailing close-hauled.

  1. an act or instance of reaching: to make a reach for a gun.

  2. the extent or distance of reaching: within reach of his voice.

  1. range of effective action, power, or capacity.

  2. a continuous stretch or extent of something: a reach of woodland.

  3. Also called pound. a level portion of a canal, between locks.

  4. Nautical. a point of sailing in which the wind is within a few points of the beam, either forward of the beam (close reach ), directly abeam (beam reach ), or abaft the beam (broad reach ).

  5. the pole connecting the rear axle of a wagon to the transverse bar or bolster over the front axle supporting the wagon bed.

  6. a straight portion of a river between two bends.

Origin of reach

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

synonym study For reach

See grasp.

Other words for reach

Other words from reach

  • reach·a·ble, adjective
  • reach·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • reacher, noun
  • un·reach·a·ble, adjective
  • un·reached, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use reach in a sentence

  • However, on reaching Spain, the magic of the Emperor's personality soon restored the vigour and prestige of the French arms.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • He is rather tall and narrow, and wears a long abb's coat reaching nearly down to his feet.

  • But men, through neglecting the rules of health, pass quickly to old age, and die before reaching that term.

  • Harry had no further adventures in reaching Fulton, and at once reported to Captain Duffield, who was in command of the post.

  • When the quantity is very small there may be no cough, the sputum reaching the larynx by action of the bronchial cilia.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd

British Dictionary definitions for reach


/ (riːtʃ) /

  1. (tr) to arrive at or get to (a place, person, etc) in the course of movement or action: to reach the office

  2. to extend as far as (a point or place): to reach the ceiling; can you reach?

  1. (tr) to come to (a certain condition, stage, or situation): to reach the point of starvation

  2. (intr) to extend in influence or operation: the Roman conquest reached throughout England

  3. (tr) informal to pass or give (something to a person) with the outstretched hand: to reach someone a book

  4. (intr ; foll by out, for, or after) to make a movement (towards), as if to grasp or touch: to reach for something on a shelf

  5. (intr ; foll by for or after) to strive or yearn: to reach for the impossible

  6. (tr) to make contact or communication with (someone): we tried to reach him all day

  7. (tr) to strike, esp in fencing or boxing

  8. (tr) to amount to (a certain sum): to reach the five million mark

  9. (intr) nautical to sail on a tack with the wind on or near abeam

  1. the act of reaching

  2. the extent or distance of reaching: within reach of safety; beyond her reach

  1. the range of influence, power, jurisdiction, etc

  2. an open stretch of water, esp on a river

  3. nautical the direction or distance sailed by a vessel on one tack

  4. a bar on the rear axle of a vehicle connecting it with some part at the front end

  5. television radio the percentage of the population selecting a broadcast programme or channel for more than a specified time during a day or week

  6. marketing the proportion of a market that an advertiser hopes to reach at least once in a campaign

Origin of reach

Old English rǣcan; related to Old Frisian rēka, Old High German reihhen

Derived forms of reach

  • reachable, adjective
  • reacher, noun

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


In addition to the idiom beginning with reach

  • reach for the sky

also see:

  • boardinghouse reach
  • get to (reach) first base
  • in reach

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