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English definition of “stretch”

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verb uk   /stretʃ/ us  

stretch verb (REACH)

B2 [T usually + adv/prep] to cause something to reach, often as far as possible, in a particular direction: I tripped on a piece of wire that someone had stretched across the path. She stretched out her hand and helped him from his chair.B2 [I] to make your body or your arms and legs straight so that they are as long as possible, in order to exercise the joints (= place where two bones are connected) after you have been in the same place or position for a long time: "I'm so tired," she said, yawning and stretching. It's a good idea to stretch before you take vigorous exercise.
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stretch verb (SPREAD)

C2 [I usually + adv/prep] to spread over a large area or distance: A huge cloud of dense smoke stretched across the horizon. The Andes stretch for 7,250 km along the west coast of South America. Unsettled weather will stretch from the middle Mississippi Valley to the southern Middle Atlantic States. The refugee camps stretch as far as the eye can see.
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stretch verb (GO PAST)

[T] to go as far as or past the usual limit of something: Many families' budgets are already stretched to breaking point. We can't work any harder, Paul. We're already fully stretched. This movie really stretches the patience of the audience to the limit. We don't normally allow in people under 18, but I suppose we could stretch the rules for you as it's your birthday tomorrow.

stretch verb (MAKE LONGER)

B2 [I or T] to (cause a material to) become longer or wider than usual as a result of pulling at the edges: an exercise to stretch the leg muscles That elastic band will snap if you stretch it too far. This substance stretches to any shape you want.B2 [I] If a material stretches, it can become longer or wider when pulled and then return to its original size: to stretch fabrics

stretch verb (LONG TIME)

[I usually + adv/prep] to spread over a long period of time: The dispute stretches back over many years. Although we were supposed to finish this month, it looks like the work will stretch well into next year. [T] ( also stretch out) to make a process or task continue for a longer period of time than was originally planned: I'd like to stretch my mortgage payments out over a longer period if possible.

stretch verb (DO MORE)

[T] If jobs or tasks stretch you, they make you learn new things that use your skill and experience more than before: My present job doesn't stretch me, so I'm looking for something more demanding.


noun uk   /stretʃ/ us  

stretch noun (PART)

C1 [C usually singular] a continuous area of land or water: This particular stretch of coast is especially popular with walkers. Traffic is at a standstill along a five-mile stretch of the M11 just south of Cambridge. Some very rare birds inhabit our stretch of the river. [C usually singular] a stage in a race, or a part of a racetrack: She looked certain to win as she entered the final stretch. He fell as he galloped down the home stretch (= towards the finish).
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stretch noun (REACH)

[C usually singular] an act of stretching: I always have a good stretch when I get up in the morning.

stretch noun (GO PAST)

[C usually singular] the fact that something has gone past its usual limits: His thesis may be a stretch, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

stretch noun (MAKE LONGER)

[U] the degree to which a material can be made longer or wider by pulling: This fabric doesn't have much stretch in it, does it?

stretch noun (TIME)

[C usually singular] a continuous period of time: The elderly generally need far less rest than the young, and tend to sleep in several short stretches. [C usually singular] informal a period of time that a criminal spends in prison: Her brother's doing a ten-year stretch for armed a stretch mainly UK continuously or without any interruptions: There's no way I could work for ten hours at a stretch.

stretch noun (ACTOR)

[C usually singular] the fact that an actor finds it difficult to play a character who is very different from his or her own personality: Playing a budding opera star was not much of a stretch for this classically trained singer.
(Definition of stretch from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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