From Middle English strecchen, from Old English streċċan (“to stretch, hold out, extend, spread out, prostrate”), from Proto-Germanic *strakjaną, *strakkijaną (“to stretch, make taut or tight”), from Proto-Indo-European *streg-, *treg- (“stiff, rigid”). Cognate with Dutch strekken (“to stretch, straighten”), German strecken (“to stretch, straighten, elongate”), Danish strække (“to stretch”), Swedish sträcka (“to stretch”), Dutch strak (“taut, tight”), Albanian shtriqem (“to stretch”). More at stark.
- (transitive) To lengthen by pulling.
- I stretched the rubber band until it almost broke.
- (intransitive) To lengthen when pulled.
- The rubber band stretched almost to the breaking point.
- The inner membrane […] because it would stretch and yield, remained unbroken.
- (transitive) To pull tight.
- First, stretch the skin over the frame of the drum.
- (figuratively, transitive) To get more use than expected from a limited resource.
- I managed to stretch my coffee supply a few more days.
- (figuratively, transitive) To make inaccurate by exaggeration.
- To say crossing the street was brave is stretching the meaning of "brave" considerably.
- (intransitive) To extend physically, especially from limit point to limit point.
1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
- Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path […]. It twisted and turned, […] and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn. And, back of the lawn, was a big, old-fashioned house, with piazzas stretching in front of it, and all blazing with lights.
- The beach stretches from Cresswell to Amble.
- (intransitive or transitive) To extend one’s limbs or another part of the body in order to improve the elasticity of one's muscles
- Cats stretch with equal ease and agility beyond the point that breaks a man on the rack.
- I always stretch my muscles before exercising.
- (intransitive) To extend to a limit point
- His mustache stretched all the way to his sideburns.
- (transitive) To increase.
2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3-3 Blackburn”, BBC Sport:
- Yakubu took advantage of John Ruddy's error to put the visitors back in front, with Chris Samba's header stretching their advantage.
- (obsolete, colloquial) To stretch the truth; to exaggerate.
- a man apt to stretch in his report of facts
- (nautical) To sail by the wind under press of canvas.
- The ship stretched to the eastward.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Ham. Nav. Encyc to this entry?)
stretch (plural stretches)
- An act of stretching.
- I was right in the middle of a stretch when the phone rang.
- To say crossing the street was brave was quite a stretch.
- The ability to lengthen when pulled.
- That rubber band has quite a bit of stretch.
- A course of thought which diverts from straightforward logic, or requires extraordinary belief.
- It's a bit of a stretch to call Boris Karloff a comedian.
- A segment of a journey or route.
- It was an easy trip except for the last stretch, which took forever.
- (baseball) A quick pitching delivery used when runners are on base where the pitcher slides his leg instead of lifting it.
- (baseball) A long reach in the direction of the ball with a foot remaining on the base by a first baseman in order to catch the ball sooner.
- A length of time.
- He did a 7-year stretch in jail.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
- at full stretch
- by a long stretch
- cat stretch
- seventh inning stretch
- stretch limo
- stretch of the imagination
- stretch mark
- stretch out
- stretch pants