Definition of stretch verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//stretʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stretʃ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they stretch
    BrE BrE//stretʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stretʃ//
    he / she / it stretches
    BrE BrE//ˈstretʃɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstretʃɪz//
    past simple stretched
    BrE BrE//stretʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stretʃt//
    past participle stretched
    BrE BrE//stretʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stretʃt//
    -ing form stretching
    BrE BrE//ˈstretʃɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstretʃɪŋ//
    Materials and properties, Exercise
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    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. See related entries: Materials and properties
  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. See related entries: Exercise
  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. somebody’s skill/intelligence
  17. 10[transitive] stretch somebody/something to make use of all somebody’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. Word OriginOld English streccan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch strekken and German strecken. The noun dates from the late 16th cent.Extra examples A line of cars stretched into the distance. Andrea turned out the light and stretched full-length on the bed. Don’t stretch yourself too thin financially. He stirred and stretched lazily. He stretched out on the couch and watched TV. Our forces are too thinly stretched to control the chaos. She sat up, yawning and stretching. She stretched up to reach the top shelf. Striped awnings had been stretched across the courtyard. The beach seemed to stretch endlessly. The beach stretches for five miles. The future stretched out endlessly in front of me. The increase in demand has severely stretched our resources. The road stretched ahead. The wood does not stretch very far. This department is stretched to its limit. an area which stretches from London to the north His bulging muscles stretched the fabric of his T-shirt. Stop stretching your sleeves like that!Idioms to change the rules to suit a particular person or situation (informal) to go for a short walk after sitting for some time It was good to get out of the car and stretch our legs. to allow or do something that is not usually acceptable, especially because of a particular situation I was hoping they would stretch a point and let me stay on for a while. Phrasal Verbsstretch out
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: stretch