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STRETCH, verb transitive [Latin]

1. To draw out to greater length; to extend in a line; as, to stretch a cord or a rope.

2. To extend in breadth; as, to stretch cloth.

3. To spread; to expand; as, to stretch the wings.

4. To reach; to extend.

STRETCH thine hand to the poor.

5. To spread; to display; as, to stretch forth the heavens.

6. To draw or pull out in length; to strain; as, to stretch a tendon or muscle.

7. To make tense; to strain.

So the stretchd cord the shackled dancer tries.

8. To extend mentally; as, to stretch the mind or thoughts.

9. To exaggerate; to extend too far; as, to stretch the truth; to stretch ones credit.

STRETCH, verb intransitive

1. To be extended; to be drawn out in length or in breadth, or both. A wet hempen cord or cloth contracts; in drying, it stretches.

2. To be extended; to spread; as, a lake stretches over a hundred miles of earth. Lake Erie stretches from Niagara nearly to Huron. Hence,

3. To stretch to, is to reach.

4. To be extended or to bear extension without breaking, as elastic substances.

The inner membrane--because it would stretch and yield, remained unbroken.

5. To sally beyond the truth; to exaggerate. A man who is apt to stretch has less credit than others.

6. In navigation, to sail; to direct a course. It is often understood to signify to sail under a great spread of canvas close hauled. In this it differs from stand, which implies no press of sail. We were standing to the east, when we saw a ship stretching to the southward.

7. To make violent efforts in running.


1. Extension in length or in breadth; reach; as a great stretch of wings.

2. Effort; struggle; strain.

Those put lawful authority upon the stretch to the abuse of power, under color of prerogative.

3. Force of body; straining.

By stretch of arms the distant shore to gain.

4. Utmost extent of meaning.

Quotations, in their utmost stretch can signify no more than that Luther lay under severe agonies of mind.

5. Utmost reach of power.

This is the utmost stretch that nature can.

6. In sailing, a tack; the reach or extent of progress on one tack.

7. Course; direction; as the stretch of seams of coal.