to draw out or extend (oneself, a body, limbs, wings, etc.) to the full length or extent (often followed by out): to stretch oneself out on the ground.
to hold out, reach forth, or extend (one's arm, head, etc.).
to extend, spread, or place (something) so as to reach from one point or place to another: to stretch a rope across a road.
to draw tight or taut: to stretch the strings of a violin.
to lengthen, widen, distend, or enlarge by tension: to stretch a rubber band.
to draw out, extend, or enlarge unduly: The jacket was stretched at the elbows.
to extend, force, or make serve beyond the normal or proper limits; strain: to stretch the imagination; to stretch the facts; to stretch food to feed extra guests; to stretch money to keep within a budget.
to extend or strain (oneself) to the utmost, as by intense exertion; tax.
to increase the quantity of (a beverage, food, paint, etc.) by dilution or admixing: They caught the bartender stretching the gin with water.
Radio and Television. to prolong or slow down (action or pace) in order not to end too early: to stretch a show; to stretch the action two minutes.
to recline at full length (usually followed by out): to stretch out on a couch.
to extend the hand or to reach, as for something.
to extend over a distance or area or in a particular direction: The forest stretches for miles.
to extend in time: His memory stretches back to his early childhood.
to stretch oneself by extending the limbs and lengthening the muscles to the utmost: to stretch and yawn.
to become stretched, or admit of being stretched, to greater length, width, etc., as any elastic or ductile material.
Radio and Television. to reduce the pace or slow down the action of a radio or television program.
an act or instance of stretching.
the state of being stretched.
a continuous length, distance, tract, or expanse: a stretch of meadow.
Baseball. a short windup, usually used to keep base runners from taking too long a lead, in which the pitcher starts the pitching motion with hands together at the waist, raises them to or above the head, brings them back to the waist, and, after a momentary pause, delivers the ball.
an extent in time; duration: for a stretch of ten years.
elasticity or capacity for extension.
Slang. a term of imprisonment: He's doing a stretch in the pen.
the act or fact of stretching or extending something beyond reasonable or proper limits: You wouldn't call her a genius by any stretch of the imagination. It's quite a stretch for me to believe his story.
(initial capital letter) a nickname for a tall, lanky person.
made of synthetic or composite yarn having a sufficiently low denier or having been subjected to any of several special mechanical treatments to permit increased elasticity: stretch girdle; stretch pants.
(of yarn) modified or twisted so as to afford high elasticity.
Also stretched. of or relating to a conveyance, as a limousine or airliner, whose seating area is expanded to carry more passengers or afford greater legroom and to allow space for other comforts and amenities.
- stretch·a·ble, adjective
- stretch·a·bil·i·ty, noun
- non·stretch·a·ble, adjective
- pre·stretch, verb (used with object), noun
- un·stretch·a·ble, adjective
- un·stretched, adjective
- well-stretched, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use stretch in a sentence
Graham is being far outspent by Harrison, who has raised a stunning $29 million and has about $10 million for the final stretch.Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine; Biden says Americans shouldn’t trust Trump | Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Now, the season starts around May and routinely extends to November—sometimes even stretching to December.West Coast wildfire smoke is visible from outer space | María Paula Rubiano A. | September 16, 2020 | Popular-Science
If it’s fairly straight, hamstring stretches are going to give you the best benefit.The best thing for back pain is actually more movement | Sara Chodosh | September 16, 2020 | Popular-Science
Democratic leaders stand by that proposal to bring back the weekly $600 enhanced unemployment benefit—which stretched from late March to late July.The federal $300 unemployment benefit is set to expire. Will there be a replacement? | Lance Lambert | September 14, 2020 | Fortune
Some of the Nats’ stretch-run problems aren’t fixable, either.
The plan is to stretch it out as long as possible, then probably forget about it, and then suddenly remember it.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS | Marlow Stern | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
“You need to stretch kids slightly outside their comfort zones, but never have surprises,” she said.The Most Inspiring Bits of Temple Grandin’s Reddit AMA | Emily Shire | November 18, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
They started with Not Fade Away and went from one song to another over a 14 minute stretch.Greil Marcus Talks About Trying to Unlock Rock and Roll in 10 Songs | Allen Barra | November 17, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The farmers in the area told Ledu that what normally fed them for one year would barely stretch for the next few months.
In the final stretch of the campaign, Gotauco, the Healey volunteer, recorded a song she titled "Integrity in A-Minor."
I could see only the stretch of green before me, and I felt as if I must walk on forever, without coming to the end of it.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
A long stretch of smooth ice followed, over which he glided with ever-increasing speed.The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
The hut was barely high enough to let him sit up, and long enough to let him lie down—not to stretch out.The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
He had perhaps placed in her hand the weapon that should hasten his own defeat, stretch him bleeding on the sand.The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
Twenty minutes jogging brought us into a stretch of rough country, a series of knobs and ridges cut by innumerable coulées.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for stretch
to draw out or extend or be drawn out or extended in length, area, etc
to extend or be extended to an undue degree, esp so as to distort or lengthen permanently
to extend (the limbs, body, etc)
(tr) to reach or suspend (a rope, etc) from one place to another
(tr) to draw tight; tighten
(often foll by out, forward, etc) to reach or hold (out); extend
(intr usually foll by over) to extend in time: the course stretched over three months
(intr; foll by for, over, etc) (of a region, etc) to extend in length or area
(intr) (esp of a garment) to be capable of expanding, as to a larger size: socks that will stretch
(tr) to put a great strain upon or extend to the limit
to injure (a muscle, tendon, ligament, etc) by means of a strain or sprain
(tr often foll by out) to make do with (limited resources): to stretch one's budget
(tr) informal to expand or elaborate (a story, etc) beyond what is credible or acceptable: that's stretching it a bit
(tr; often passive) to extend, as to the limit of one's abilities or talents
archaic, or slang to hang or be hanged by the neck
stretch a point
to make a concession or exception not usually made
stretch one's legs to take a walk, esp after a period of inactivity
the act of stretching or state of being stretched
a large or continuous expanse or distance: a stretch of water
extent in time, length, area, etc
capacity for being stretched, as in some garments
(as modifier): stretch pants
horse racing the section or sections of a racecourse that are straight, esp the final straight section leading to the finishing line
slang a term of imprisonment
at a stretch mainly British
with some difficulty; by making a special effort
if really necessary or in extreme circumstances
at one time
- stretchable, adjective
- stretchability, 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 stretch
In addition to the idioms beginning with stretch
- stretch a point
- stretch one's legs
- at a stretch
- by any stretch
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.