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stretch - definition and synonyms


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verb stretch pronunciation in American English /stretʃ/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlestretching
past tensestretched
past participlestretched
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  1. 1
    [transitive] to pull something to make it longer or wider

    I’ll have to get these shoes stretched.

    1. b.
      [intransitive] if a material such as cloth stretches, it becomes wider or longer when you pull it, and returns to its original shape and size when you stop pulling it

      When you’re pregnant it helps to wear fabrics that stretch as you grow.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to pull something so that it becomes smooth, straight, and tight

    The little birds are caught in nets stretched between the trees.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to make your arms, legs, or body as straight as possible so that your muscles become long and tight

    I leaned back in the chair and stretched.

    1. a.



      stretch out

      [transitive] to move an arm or a leg away from your body in order to reach something

      He stretched his hand toward her.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to continue for a particular distance
    stretch into/from/to/for/across:

    The empire stretched all the way from Scotland to the Pyrenees.

    The beach stretches for miles in each direction.

    stretch as far as the eye can see:

    The traffic stretched as far as the eye could see.

    1. a.
      to continue for a particular period of time
      stretch to/into/over/beyond/back:

      Paul joined the company on a one-month contract that ultimately stretched to five.

      They had an unbeaten record stretching back to 1995.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] [usually in negatives] to have enough money to pay for something
    stretch to:

    I don’t really think my salary will stretch to a tailor-made suit.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to use all the money, supplies, or time available
    stretch something to the limit:

    City funds were stretched to the limit.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to no longer be reasonable
    stretch (someone’s) credulity/patience etc.:

    Foreman’s book has a plot that stretches credulity to the utmost.

  8. 8
    [transitive] to make someone use all their intelligence or ability, especially in a way that is interesting or enjoyable
  9. 9
    [transitive] to allow something that is usually not allowed because of a special situation

    We might be prepared to stretch the rules a little in this case.

phrasal verbs



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

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the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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