Definition of reach in English:

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Pronunciation: /riːtʃ/


1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Stretch out an arm in a specified direction in order to touch or grasp something: he reached over and turned off his bedside light she reached out to squeeze Hope’s hand
More example sentences
  • I felt two hands cover my eyes, and I gasped in surprise, reaching up to grasp them.
  • It'll be good for me, stretching and reaching in the fresh air, too.
  • The arm of the dancer to her left literally stretches as it reaches toward the leader's hand, where momentum has broken the circle.
stretch out, hold out, extend, outstretch, thrust out, stick out
literary outreach
1.1 (reach for) Extend one’s hand or arm in an attempt to touch or grasp (something): Leith reached for the nearest folder
More example sentences
  • She cried out to him, reaching for his touch as she sat unable to move upon the ground.
  • I launch myself at him, springing forward, and my arms reaching for him.
  • Scarlett, attempting to stop crying, took a deep breath and reached for the cell phone again.
1.2 [with object] (reach something out) Stretch out one’s hand or arm: he reached out a hand and touched her hair
More example sentences
  • Unwittingly she slumped in the chair, her legs stretched out, and reached her hands out towards the fire for a bit of warmth.
  • He reached his hand out to me and stretched his arm around my waist, pulling me closer to him.
  • And he reaches his hands out and just touches a baby's face.
1.3 [with object] (reach something down) Stretch upwards to pick something up and bring it to a lower level: she reached down a plate from the cupboard
More example sentences
  • He smiled, reached his hand down to her, and brought her gently to her feet, so that they stood toe to toe.
  • Her heard her sigh softly, reaching a hand down to touch his hands.
  • She reaches her hand down to scratch her ankle, then straightens up again.
1.4 [with two objects] Hand (something) to (someone): reach me those glasses
pass, hand, give, let someone have
1.5 [no object] Be able to touch something with an outstretched arm or leg: I had to stand on tiptoe and even then I could hardly reach
More example sentences
  • It is quite likely that you will not be able to reach, so hold on to a belt or towel instead.
  • To protect this greatest of treasures, it was placed where no ordinary human being would ever be able to reach.
  • But, being taller, he is nevertheless able to reach.
2 [with object] Arrive at; get as far as: ‘Goodbye,’ she said as they reached the door the show is due to reach our screens early next year
More example sentences
  • The two shipments known to have reached Scotland arrived by cargo vessel.
  • Upon reaching the bright blue door she opened it and went into a small central room, walking right up to the desk and meeting the secretary's eyes.
  • When finally reaching the front door of Jason's house she spoke.
arrive at, get to, get as far as, come to, make it to, gain;
end up at, land up at, set foot on
informal make, hit
2.1 [no object] West Indian Arrive: just round that corner, by them mango trees, and we reach
More example sentences
  • I am here to make sure that she reaches back to the house safely.
  • Who would have thought that we would reach there so quickly?
  • Sorry, I was in such a rush to reach I forgot the digi cam.
3 [with object] Attain or extend to (a specified point, level, or condition): unemployment reached a peak in 1933 [no object]: denim shorts that reach to his knees
More example sentences
  • Unemployment and poverty have reached catastrophic levels, especially in the east of the country.
  • Water levels reached the critical point in the early hours, breaching flood defences.
  • In industrial areas and major cities, unemployment reached enormous levels.
attain, get to, amount to;
rise to, climb to;
fall to, sink to, drop to;
run to
informal hit
3.1Succeed in achieving: the conference reached agreement on the draft treaty
More example sentences
  • It reflects even more on their achievement of reaching the final that they have done so without two of their most influential players.
  • Well done girls, it was a great achievement to reach a County Final.
  • It is hoped an agreement will be reached that is satisfactory to most people but there will complaints and criticism.
achieve, attain, gain, accomplish;
work out, draw up, put together, strike, negotiate, thrash out, hammer out
3.2Succeed in influencing or having an effect on: he seeks opportunities to reach viewers without journalistic interference
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, I doubt this message will reach those who are the real source of the problem.
  • The Nelson Mandela Foundation and I are convinced that his message will reach those most at risk of HIV.
  • First, movies serve as our most influential history teachers, reaching and swaying audiences that the professional historian cannot even dream of.
influence, sway, carry weight with, get through to, get to, make an impression on, have an effect on, have an impact on, register with
3.3 [no object] (reach out) chiefly North American Seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation: his style was to reach out all the time, especially to members of his own party anyone in need of assistance should reach out to the authorities as soon as possible
More example sentences
  • They're getting a lot of people who want to volunteer to help and who are reaching out.
  • I mean, this is an honest man, a man of religion, a man who reaches out to people.
  • So tread lightly and confront the issue of what's going on in her family only if she reaches out to you for help.
4 [with object] Make contact with (someone) by telephone or other means: I’ve been trying to reach you all morning
More example sentences
  • I have only been in contact with him by e-mail and my attempts to reach him by telephone have failed.
  • Attempts were made to reach her by telephone, so she changed her number.
  • He has no colleagues, only a contact, who reaches him through newspaper advertisements to pass on details of the next assignment.
get in touch with, contact, get through to, get, communicate with, make contact with;
speak to, talk to
informal get hold of
British informal raise
4.1(Of a broadcast or other communication) be received by: television reached those parts of the electorate that other news sources could not
More example sentences
  • In previous times, radio was very local, but broadcasts now reach a national, even international audience.
  • An increasing proportion of commentators hardly ever write at all but occupy regular slots on radio or television, often reaching a much wider audience than any author could hope to.
  • Findings aired on all major television news stations, reaching an estimated total audience of 8,636,000.
5 [no object] Sailing Sail with the wind blowing from the side of the ship: ‘Brighteyes’ was followed round the Goldstone by ‘Patriot’, while ‘Patriot’ white-sail reached


1An act of reaching out with one’s arm: she made a reach for him
More example sentences
  • She will play happily so long as the dolly is within her reach should she desire it.
  • I nearly slapped him, but he danced out of my reach before turning back.
  • That shocked me into action, and without thinking, I jumped away from his reach.
1.1 [in singular] The distance to which someone, especially a boxer, can stretch out their hand: a giant, over six feet seven with a reach of over 81 inches
More example sentences
  • Smith, who has the reach and height to be a solid left tackle, must improve his strength.
  • Here is a boxer who has a good reach and tactfully uses it.
  • He can be unpredictable, able to move swiftly round the ring and be elusive, but has the height and reach to stand and trade blows.
grasp, range
2The extent or range of something’s application, effect, or influence: he told a story to illustrate the reach of his fame
More example sentences
  • He takes pains to limit the range and reach of his case against censorship.
  • It is law which is secular in origin, yet greatly limited, in its formal version, in its reach and effect.
  • The entertainment industry, meanwhile, continues to overestimate its reach and influence.
capabilities, capacity
jurisdiction, authority, sway, control, command, influence;
scope, range, compass, ambit, orbit, latitude;
sphere, area, field, territory
2.1The number of people who watch or listen to a particular broadcast or channel during a specified period: the programme’s daily reach is 400,000
More example sentences
  • Cable and satellite channels have a combined reach of 18 million.
  • With over 50% of homes now able to watch the channels both share and reach are growing.
  • No other media company has this channel's reach.
3 (often reaches) A continuous extent of water, especially a stretch of river between two bends, or the part of a canal between locks: the upper reaches of the Nile
More example sentences
  • It is designed to divert water from the upper reaches of the river to the northeast coast.
  • Some creeks or river reaches are fed by springs or groundwater seeps.
  • The dam is in Hubei province, to the east of Sichuan and Chongqing, and water flow has surged over warning levels after the upper reaches of the Yangtze River started flooding.
4 Sailing A distance traversed in reaching: he could sail a clear reach for Key Canaka



out of (or beyond) reach

Outside the distance to which someone can stretch out their hand.
Example sentences
  • Adrienne snapped as she reached for the remote back but Leigh held it out of reach.
  • And if you must have a gun in the house, keep it in a locked place, out of reach and unloaded.
1.1Beyond the capacity of someone to attain something: she thought university was out of her reach
More example sentences
  • Many families want their children to attend university, but such an option is beyond reach for the majority of the population, particularly those in rural or highland areas.
  • An Evening Press survey this spring found that traditional starter homes were now out of reach for someone on an average York salary.
  • Despite negotiations to lower the price of imported medications, they remain out of reach to all but the very richest.

within (or in) reach

Inside the distance to which someone can stretch out their hand.
Example sentences
  • After one particularly long submersion, Blair spotted a log stretched out across the river just within reach of his outstretched hands.
  • She sat at her old desk, and we arranged things within reach and tried to keep the most frequently used items close to the seating position.
  • I pulled my chair even closer to the desk so I was in reach of the pen and paper along with the notes.
2.1Inside a distance that can be travelled: a 1930s semi within easy reach of the town centre
More example sentences
  • However, most simply prefer the calm atmosphere which now pervades the town and its convenient location within reach of some of the Lake District's more peaceful and harder-to-reach lakes and mountains.
2.2Within the capacity of someone to attain something: the arrangement is well within the reach of the average dancer
More example sentences
  • Improvement is always within reach and always attainable.
  • For some uncanny reason, the moments at which you stumble are those when you are within reach of attaining some long-sought goal.
  • The affordability, and quality of digital video and sophisticated postproduction systems put these possibilities well within reach.


Old English rǣcan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch reiken and German reichen.

Words that rhyme with reach

beach, beech, beseech, bleach, breach, breech, each, impeach, leach, leech, outreach, peach, pleach, preach, screech, speech, teach

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: reach

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