Definition of stretch in English:

stretch

Syllabification: stretch
Pronunciation: /streCH
 
/

verb

[no object]
1(Of something soft or elastic) be made or be capable of being made longer or wider without tearing or breaking: my sweater stretched in the wash rubber will stretch easily when pulled
More example sentences
  • Soft, springy materials like rubber and skin don't tear easily because they stretch before breaking apart.
  • Softer metals tend to stretch more easily, which explains the different factors in the formulas for different metals.
  • If you replace your laces with elastic you will be able to tie them up before you slip your feet into them; the elastic will stretch to enable your foot to go in but will still be tight enough to hold your shoes on comfortably.
Synonyms
be elastic, be stretchy, be tensile
1.1 [with object] Cause to do this: stretch the elastic small squares of canvas were stretched over the bamboo frame
More example sentences
  • The fabric mask is stretched over the face and pressed firmly in place.
  • Then carpet is stretched over the top of the metal and tucked under the side of the Z-bar that is not secured.
  • The second balloon is stretched over the first balloon to seal in the flour.
Synonyms
pull (out), draw out, extend, lengthen, elongate, expand
1.2Last or cause to last longer than expected: her nap had stretched to two hours [with object]: stretch your weekend into a mini summer vacation
More example sentences
  • The precautionary effort was expected to stretch into this week.
  • There are also plans to obtain extended drinking hours and a dance licence, so the weekend stretches out just that little bit longer.
  • Stein's interim stint, expected to last two months, stretched to a year.
Synonyms
prolong, lengthen, make longer, extend, spin out
1.3 [with object] Make great demands on the capacity or resources of: the cost of the court case has stretched their finances to the limit
More example sentences
  • Now, precious resources are being stretched even further.
  • But the real issue is that important resources are being stretched.
  • And police resources could be further stretched if there is a repeat of last year's illegal rave at Marloes on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Synonyms
put a strain on, overtax, overextend, drain, sap
1.4 [with object] Cause (someone) to make maximum use of their talents or abilities: it’s too easy—it doesn’t stretch me
More example sentences
  • Considered the toughest event, the obstacle course is a test to the cadet's stamina and ability to stretch him beyond his limits.
  • However, the extent to which this exercise stretches me personally is a constant surprise.
  • It stretched me as a person and opened my mind to many new parts of myself.
1.5 [with object] Adapt or extend the scope of (something) in a way that exceeds a reasonable or acceptable limit: to describe her as sweet would be stretching it a bit
More example sentences
  • You know, nothing hurts the truth like stretching it, and he stretched it just a lot.
  • Now that's stretching it a bit, don't you agree?
  • If I told you that, I would be stretching it a bit.
Synonyms
bend, strain, distort, exaggerate, embellish
2Straighten or extend one’s body or a part of one’s body to its full length, typically so as to tighten one’s muscles or in order to reach something: the cat yawned and stretched [with object]: stretching my cramped legs we lay stretched out on the sand
More example sentences
  • I got up from the rather cramped car and stretched out my muscles to give them some air.
  • She stretched out her body, her muscles loosening up from the long flight of last night.
  • This area was cooler with more grass than plain dirt, making me want to stretch out on the soft carpet and stare at the stars.
Synonyms
extend, straighten (out)
lie down, recline, lean back, be recumbent, sprawl, lounge, loll
3Extend or spread over an area or period of time: the beach stretches for over four miles the long hours of night stretched ahead of her
More example sentences
  • Inside the gate a carpet of bricks, plaster, glass, wood and office paper stretched around 40 feet to a crater which marked the epicentre of the explosion.
  • I was puzzled about how to eat the long and large segment of pig's bone positioned in the middle of the plate in front of me with a straw stretching into it.
  • By 1930, no wetland and few trees were left in the region, and in many counties, cotton stretched from horizon to horizon.
Synonyms
extend, spread, continue

noun

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1An act of stretching one’s limbs or body: I got up and had a stretch
More example sentences
  • Full body stretches should also be done before using the ball.
  • Relax the pectoral muscle and deepen the chest stretch by turning the body away from the arm for another count of 15 seconds.
  • The body stretches are often held for longer than those that might be employed by a shiatsu practitioner or massage therapist.
Synonyms
reach out, hold out, extend, outstretch, proffer
literary outreach
1.1The fact or condition of a muscle being stretched: she could feel the stretch and pull of the muscles in her legs
More example sentences
  • Muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs are receptor organs found inside skeletal muscle, which are stimulated by stretch of the muscle or tension on the tendon.
  • The essential clinical feature of compartment syndrome in conscious patients is severe pain out of proportion to the injury, aggravated by passive muscle stretch.
  • Stimulation of these receptors by stretch or chemical agents triggers impulses along nonmyelinated vagal afferents.
1.2 Baseball A phase of a pitcher’s delivery, during which the arms are raised above and behind the head.
More example sentences
  • The coaches believe Dual has been rushing his delivery from the stretch, causing him to leave the ball up in the strike zone.
  • To enhance the stretch, push gently above the knee on the outside of the leg, with the non-stretch leg hand.
  • Besides rushing his delivery in the stretch, his left shoulder is flying open as he throws.
1.3 Baseball A shortened form of a pitcher’s windup, typically used to prevent base runners from stealing or gaining a long lead.
More example sentences
  • The left-hander holds runners at first more effectively than right-handers because he faces the base from the stretch.
  • Gonzalez cut down seven of eight would-be base stealers during one stretch.
  • So he abandons the windup and pitches exclusively from the stretch.
1.4 [usually as modifier] The capacity of a material or garment to stretch or be stretched; elasticity: stretch jeans
More example sentences
  • A picture of a giraffe or a lion on quality stretch cotton material will also be an ideal choice.
  • These stretch materials make the shorts fit perfectly, offer great support and look great too.
  • The slim cut stretch denim jeans envelop the contour of the female form like a second skin, giving a slim and seductive outline to the hip and legs.
Synonyms
1.5A difficult or demanding task: it was a stretch for me sometimes to come up with the rent
More example sentences
  • Ensuring that her children are fed properly is a stretch.
  • It has been a huge stretch for my progressive little heart and soul.
  • I think any role is a balance between a stretch and knowing that you can do it.
2A continuous area or expanse of land or water: a treacherous stretch of road
More example sentences
  • Most of the game is set in open expanses of water framed by nondescript stretches of land and changing weather conditions.
  • But what of the people it might displace, areas of fertile land that might become stretches of wasteland and even the water wars that might ensue?
  • She has sailed round Cape Horn, one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world, on a three-mast wooden ship.
Synonyms
2.1A continuous period of time: long stretches of time
More example sentences
  • It'll be my first break in ten months - the longest stretch between holidays for years - and I can't wait.
  • The substitutions aside, the siege of the England goal continues with long stretches of French possession interrupted by the briefest of respites.
  • Toronto continued their recent stretch of playing good ball by ending Orlando's three-game win streak with a convincing victory.
Synonyms
2.2 informal A period of time spent in prison: a four-year stretch for tax fraud
More example sentences
  • Its leaders, who were sentenced to long stretches in prison, declared the dissolution of the organisation.
  • Many of those who tuck guns in their waistbands and shoot up their neighborhoods hardly flinch at the prospect of doing a long stretch in prison if caught.
  • But it is Ted who ends up doing a stretch in prison.
Synonyms
(prison) sentence, (prison) term, stint, rap
2.3chiefly North American A straight part of a racetrack, typically the homestretch: he made a promising start, but faded down the stretch
More example sentences
  • When the horses turn the final stretch, the spectators become more animated.
  • Once he switched to his right lead in the stretch, I knew he was home.
  • The four-year-old colt drove clear while opening a three-length lead entering the stretch.
2.4 Sailing The distance covered on one tack.
More example sentences
  • Saturday’s qualifying was a new experience for me as I blew the minute pin on the back stretch and had to cut the field and come back around the entire course.
  • In the front stretch, directly in front of the thousand of rabid race fans in attendance, Fox’s Pracer blew over coming down back on the bottom in an impressive 360 degree flip.
3 informal A stretch limo: a chauffeur-driven stretch
More example sentences
  • They will arrive in stretch limousines and helicopters.
  • Police believe she may have heard thieves trying to break into two high-value cars, including a stretch limousine belonging to her husband, outside their house in Wembley.
  • A chance to be chauffeur driven in a stretch limousine to a romantic dinner for two is one of the lots on offer at an auction during the Mayor of Bolton's annual dinner and cabaret.

Origin

Old English streccan; related to Dutch strekken and German strecken. The noun dates from the late 16th century.

Phrases

at a stretch

In one continuous period: I often had to work for over twenty hours at a stretch
More example sentences
  • There is the possibility of continuous rain lashing the city for 10 hours or more at a stretch at least twice during this period.
  • Nobody noticed that I didn't eat for eighteen or twenty hours at a stretch.
  • At two points during my mission, I will wear blood pressure monitors on my arm and my fingers for twenty-four hours at a stretch.

by no (or not by any) stretch of the imagination

Used to emphasize that something is definitely not the case: by no stretch of the imagination could Carl ever be called good-looking
More example sentences
  • We haven't seen the best of him, not by any stretch of the imagination, because he has still to get more match fitness and a lot more comfortable.
  • It wasn't perfect, of course - not by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Wood dismissed this notion when he wrote of Dala, ‘Though a large fire, it was circumscribed, and by no stretch of the imagination could it be associated with a bush fire.’

stretch one's legs

Go for a short walk, typically after sitting in one place for some time.
More example sentences
  • What the younger lot should remember is that there is no question of sitting up and stretching your legs at any point of time.
  • While trying to make small talk, I watch as he stretches his legs, walking between window and chair, clutching a pack of cigarettes.
  • At the end of the day, I'd get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk home just to stretch my legs.
Synonyms
go for a walk, take a stroll, walk, stroll, move about, get some exercise

stretch one's wings

see wing.

Derivatives

stretchability

Pronunciation: /-əˈbilitē/
noun
More example sentences
  • Spandex adds stretchability, provides shape retention, minimizes wrinkling and adds resiliency to a fabric.
  • The total elongation and work hardening exponent are measures of the biaxial stretchability of sheet, and these parameters decrease as the yield strength of the sheet steel increases.
  • Polyurethane fibers are lightweight and have a high degree of stretchability which makes them good for applications like swimsuits and other athletic apparel.

stretchable

adjective
More example sentences
  • They are fleece-fronted with a wind-breaking layer across the chest, but stretchable, sweat-wicking fabric across the back and shoulders.
  • It's basically a tube made out of some stretchable material and is worn on the torso.
  • Synthetic elastic fibres and modern machine knitting have latterly permitted stretchable skin-tight garments that mould to the body without tailoring, fastening, or belting.

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