verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


Origin of reach

before 900; (v.) Middle English rechen, Old English rǣcan (cognate with German reichen, Dutch reiken); (noun) derivative of the v.
Related formsreach·a·ble, adjectivereach·a·bil·i·ty, nounreach·er, nounun·reach·a·ble, adjectiveun·reached, adjective

Synonyms for reach

1. attain. 24. area, sphere, scope.

Synonym study

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

British Dictionary definitions for reachs



(tr) to arrive at or get to (a place, person, etc) in the course of movement or actionto reach the office
to extend as far as (a point or place)to reach the ceiling; can you reach?
(tr) to come to (a certain condition, stage, or situation)to reach the point of starvation
(intr) to extend in influence or operationthe Roman conquest reached throughout England
(tr) informal to pass or give (something to a person) with the outstretched handto reach someone a book
(intr ; foll by out, for, or after) to make a movement (towards), as if to grasp or touchto reach for something on a shelf
(intr ; foll by for or after) to strive or yearnto reach for the impossible
(tr) to make contact or communication with (someone)we tried to reach him all day
(tr) to strike, esp in fencing or boxing
(tr) to amount to (a certain sum)to reach the five million mark
(intr) nautical to sail on a tack with the wind on or near abeam


the act of reaching
the extent or distance of reachingwithin reach of safety; beyond her reach
the range of influence, power, jurisdiction, etc
an open stretch of water, esp on a river
nautical the direction or distance sailed by a vessel on one tack
a bar on the rear axle of a vehicle connecting it with some part at the front end
television radio the percentage of the population selecting a broadcast programme or channel for more than a specified time during a day or week
marketing the proportion of a market that an advertiser hopes to reach at least once in a campaign
Derived Formsreachable, 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

Word Origin and History for reachs



1520s, from reach (v.); earliest use is of stretches of water. Meaning "extent of reaching" is from 1540s; that of "act of reaching" is from 1560s.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

[Browning, "Andrea del Sarto"]



Old English ræcan, reccan "reach out, stretch out, extend, hold forth," also "succeed in touching, succeed in striking; address, speak to," also "offer, present, give, grant," from West Germanic *raikjan "stretch out the hand" (cf. Old Frisian reka, Middle Dutch reiken, Dutch reiken, Old High German and German reichen), from Proto-Germanic *raikijanau, perhaps from PIE root *reig- "to stretch out" (cf. Sanskrit rjyati "he stretches himself," riag "torture" (by racking); Greek oregein "to reach, extend;" Lithuanian raižius "to stretch oneself;" Old Irish rigim "I stretch").

Shakespeare uses the now-obsolete past tense form raught (Old English ræhte). Meaning "arrive at" is early 14c.; that of "succeed in influencing" is from 1660s. Related: Reached; reaching. Reach-me-down "ready-made" (of clothes) is recorded from 1862, from notion of being on the rack in a finished state.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with reachs


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.