To stretch is to extend or lengthen something beyond the normal length. You stretched both your vacation and the truth when you called out of work on Monday saying your flight home from Ibiza was canceled.

Stretch is a word that has many great usages. The sense of extending one’s limbs came about circa 1200. Four hundred years later brought the phrase "stretch your legs," meaning take a walk. Don’t walk too vigorously, though, or you could stretch a muscle. The word can also be used as a noun, meaning an expanse, as in, "Looking toward the horizon, the thirsty man saw an endless stretch of sand."

Definitions of stretch
  1. verb
    extend one's limbs or muscles, or the entire body
    Stretch your legs!”
    synonyms: extend
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    stretch out completely
    crane, stretch out
    stretch (the neck) so as to see better
    type of:
    strain, tense, tense up
    cause to be tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious
  2. verb
    extend one's body or limbs
    “Let's stretch for a minute--we've been sitting here for over 3 hours”
    synonyms: stretch out
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    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  3. verb
    pull in opposite directions
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    draw, pull back
    stretch back a bowstring (on an archer's bow)
    type of:
    draw, force, pull
    cause to move by pulling
  4. verb
    extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length
    stretch out that piece of cloth”
    synonyms: extend, stretch out, unfold
    open or straighten out; unbend
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    type of:
    change form, change shape, deform
    assume a different shape or form
  5. verb
    make long or longer by pulling and stretching
    stretch the fabric”
    synonyms: elongate
    see moresee less
    shoetree, tree
    stretch (a shoe) on a shoetree
    type of:
    elongate, lengthen
    make longer
  6. verb
    become longer by being stretched and pulled
    “The fabric stretches
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    contract, shrink
    become smaller or draw together
    give, yield
    be flexible under stress of physical force
    type of:
    become larger, greater, or bigger; expand or gain
  7. noun
    the act of physically reaching or thrusting out
    synonyms: reach, reaching
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    the act of reaching out
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  8. noun
    exercise designed to extend the limbs and muscles to their full extent
    synonyms: stretching
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    yawning and stretching (as when first waking up)
    type of:
    exercise, exercising, physical exercise, physical exertion, workout
    the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit
  9. noun
    the capacity for being stretched
    synonyms: stretchability, stretchiness
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    type of:
    elasticity, snap
    the tendency of a body to return to its original shape after it has been stretched or compressed
  10. noun
    a straightaway section of a racetrack
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    the straight stretch of a racetrack leading to the finish line
    type of:
    straight, straightaway
    a straight segment of a roadway or racecourse
  11. adjective
    having an elongated seating area
    “a stretch limousine”
    primarily spatial sense; of relatively great or greater than average spatial extension or extension as specified
  12. adjective
    easily stretched
    stretch hosiery”
    capable of resuming original shape after stretching or compression; springy
  13. verb
    extend the scope or meaning of; often unduly
    Stretch the limits”
    stretch my patience”
    stretch the imagination”
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    type of:
    broaden, extend, widen
    extend in scope or range or area
  14. verb
    increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
    stretch the soup by adding some more cream”
    synonyms: extend
    adulterate, debase, dilute, load
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
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    type of:
    make bigger or more
  15. verb
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
    synonyms: adulterate, debase, dilute, load
    increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
    see moresee less
    water down
    thin by adding water to
    doctor, doctor up, sophisticate
    alter and make impure, as with the intention to deceive
    type of:
    corrupt, spoil
    alter from the original
  16. noun
    extension to or beyond the ordinary limit
    “running at full stretch
    “by no stretch of the imagination”
    “beyond any stretch of his understanding”
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    type of:
    act of expanding in scope; making more widely available
  17. noun
    an unbroken period of time during which you do something
    “there were stretches of boredom”
    “he did a stretch in the federal penitentiary”
    synonyms: stint
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    type of:
    continuance, duration
    the period of time during which something continues
  18. verb
    lie down comfortably
    “To enjoy the picnic, we stretched out on the grass”
    synonyms: stretch out
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    type of:
    lie, lie down
    assume a reclining position
  19. verb
    occupy a large, elongated area
    “The park stretched beneath the train line”
    synonyms: stretch along
    see moresee less
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  20. noun
    a large and unbroken expanse or distance
    “a stretch of highway”
    “a stretch of clear water”
    see moresee less
    slack, slack water
    a stretch of water without current or movement
    type of:
    a wide and open space or area as of surface or land or sky
Word Family

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