- area of land/water
- 1[countable] stretch (of something) an area of land or water, especially a long one an unspoilt stretch of coastline a particularly dangerous stretch of road You rarely see boats on this stretch of the river. period of time
- 2[countable] a continuous period of time synonym spell They worked in four-hour stretches. She used to read for hours at a stretch (= without stopping).
- 3[countable, usually singular] (informal) a period of time that somebody spends in prison He did a ten-year stretch for fraud. of body
- 4[countable, uncountable] an act of stretching out your arms or legs or your body and contracting the muscles; the state of being stretched We got out of the car and had a good stretch. Only do these more difficult stretches when you are warmed up. Stay in this position and feel the stretch in your legs. of fabric
- 5[uncountable] the ability to be made longer or wider without breaking or tearing You need a material with plenty of stretch in it. stretch jeans on racetrack
- 6[countable, usually singular] a straight part at the end of a racing track synonym straight the finishing/home stretch (figurative) The campaign has entered its final stretch. Word Origin Old English streccan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch strekken and German strecken. The noun dates from the late 16th cent.Extra examples First let’s warm up by doing some stretches. Have a good stretch from time to time to prevent yourself getting stiff. He went through a tough stretch last year but things are better now. He worked for three days and nights at a stretch. Her arms were at full stretch. Hold the stretch for a count of ten. She felt a renewed burst of energy for the final stretch. She had been unhappy for long stretches of her life. The festival is being held on a stretch of parkland near the river. The presidential race has now entered the home stretch. The students have now entered the final stretch of their course. There are tailbacks along a 10-mile stretch of the motorway. a straight stretch of road a wild uninhabited coastal stretch an empty stretch of beach A narrow stretch of water separates the island from the mainland. She looked at the long stretches of white sands. She used to read for hours at a stretch. The car overturned on a particularly dangerous stretch of road. The summer vacation can seem like an awfully long stretch of time. This is a largely unspoilt stretch of coastline.Idioms using as much energy as possible, or the greatest possible amount of supplies Fire crews have been operating at full stretch.
used to say strongly that something is not true, even if you try to imagine or believe it She could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called beautiful. By no stretch of the imagination could the trip be described as relaxing.