American English

Definition of stretch verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they stretch
    he / she / it stretches
    past simple stretched
    -ing form stretching
    jump to other results
    make bigger/looser
  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] stretch (something) to make something longer, wider, or looser, for example by pulling it; to become longer, etc. in this way Is there any way of stretching shoes? This sweater has stretched.
  2. 2[intransitive] (of cloth) to become bigger or longer when you pull it and return to its original shape when you stop The jeans stretch to provide a perfect fit.
  3. pull tight
  4. 3[transitive] to pull something so that it is smooth and tight stretch something Stretch the fabric tightly over the frame. stretch something + adj. Make sure that the rope is stretched tight.
  5. your body
  6. 4[intransitive, transitive] to put your arms or legs out straight and contract your muscles He stretched and yawned lazily. stretch something The exercises are designed to stretch and tone your leg muscles.
  7. reach with arm
  8. 5[intransitive, transitive] to put out an arm or a leg in order to reach something + adv./prep. She stretched across the table for the butter. stretch something + adv./prep. I stretched out a hand and picked up the book.
  9. over area
  10. 6[intransitive] + adv./prep. to spread over an area of land synonym extend Fields and hills stretched out as far as we could see. Beyond the mountains stretches a vast desert.
  11. over time
  12. 7[intransitive] + adv./prep. to continue over a period of time The town's history stretches back to before 1500. The training stretches over a period of 16 months. Endless summer days stretched out before us. The talks look set to stretch into a second week.
  13. money/supplies/time
  14. 8[intransitive] stretch (to something) (used in negative sentences and questions about an amount of money) to be enough to buy or pay for something I need a new car, but my savings won't stretch to it. There are lots of things I'd like to buy, but our budget just won't stretch that far.
  15. 9[transitive] stretch somebody/something to make use of a lot of your money, supplies, time, etc. The influx of refugees has stretched the country's resources to the limit. We can't take on any more work—we're fully stretched as it is.
  16. someone's skill/intelligence
  17. 10[transitive] stretch somebody/something to make use of all someone's skill, intelligence, etc. I need a job that will stretch me. She was never really stretched at school. The book really stretches your imagination.
  18. truth/belief
  19. 11[transitive] stretch something to use something in a way that would not normally be considered fair, acceptable, etc. He admitted that he had maybe stretched the truth a little (= not been completely honest). The play's plot stretches credulity to the limit.
  20. Idioms
    bend/stretch the rules
    jump to other results
    to change the rules to suit a particular person or situation
    stretch your legs (informal)
    jump to other results
    to go for a short walk after sitting for some time It was good to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
    stretch a/the point
    jump to other results
    to exaggerate slightly It would be stretching a point to claim that the movie is a masterpiece.
    Phrasal Verbsstretch out
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stretch