Meaning of “reach” in the English Dictionary

"reach" in British English

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uk /riːtʃ/ us /riːtʃ/

reach verb (ARRIVE)

B1 [ T ] to arrive at a place, especially after spending a long time or a lot of effort travelling:

We won't reach Miami until five or six o'clock.
They finally reached the coast after five weeks sailing.
News of his accident had only just reached us.
reach a decision, agreement, conclusion, etc.

B2 to make a decision, agreement, etc. about something:

She reached the conclusion that there was no more she could do.
We'll inform you when a decision has been reached.
The jury took four days to reach a verdict.

More examples

  • The wind mocked their attempts to reach the shore by pushing the boat further and further out to sea.
  • It now seems unlikely that the Democratic nominee will reach the Oval Office.
  • By the time they reached the summit they were exhausted.
  • The police were certainly quick off the mark reaching the scene of the accident.
  • The hurricane will probably have spent most of its force by the time it reaches the northern parts of the country.

reach verb (LEVEL)

B2 [ T ] to get to a particular level, especially a high one:

The temperature is expected to reach 30°C today.
He's just reached the grand old age of 95.
I've reached the point where I'm not going to put up with her criticisms of me any more.

More examples

  • She will inherit her father's estate when she reaches her majority.
  • People in Britain legally reach adulthood at 18.
  • This car can reach 60mph from a standing start in less than six seconds.
  • The problem of inflation has reached epic proportions.
  • The song reached No. 32 in the pop charts.

reach verb (STRETCH)

B2 [ I or T ] to stretch out your arm in order to get or touch something:

She's grown so tall that she can reach the door handle now.
He reached for the phone and knocked over a glass.
The child reached down/out/over and picked up the kitten.
He reached his hand out for the money.
[ + two objects ] UK Can you reach me (down) that book?

[ I or T ] If an object reaches something, the top or bottom of it touches that thing:

The ladder won't quite reach the top of the wall.
She was wearing a dress that reached (to) her ankles.

More examples

  • The flex on this iron isn't long enough to reach the socket.
  • She poured the cream until it reached the brim.
  • That coat reaches your ankles, shorty!
  • I can't reach my zip - could you unfasten it, please?
  • If I stand on the tips of my toes, I can just reach the top shelf.

Thesaurus: synonyms and related words

Phrasal verb(s)


uk /riːtʃ/ us /riːtʃ/

reach noun (DISTANCE)

B2 [ U ] Your reach is the distance within which you can stretch out your arm and touch something:

I like to keep a notebook and pencil within (arm's) reach.
The top shelf is within/out of (his) reach.
Make sure that you keep all dangerous substances out of the reach of the children.

B2 [ U ] the distance that can be travelled, especially easily:

We live within (easy) reach of the station.

[ S ] the length of your arm when you stretch it out:

You've got quite a long reach - can you get that box down from the top shelf for me?

[ C usually singular ] an act of stretching out your arm:

He made a sudden reach for his gun.

More examples

  • Chocolate and sweets are kept on a high shelf out of the reach of the children.
  • I have my book and my paper and everything else that I need within arm's reach.
  • Can you get that magazine down for me? It's out of my reach.
  • Everything that I use for work is within reach.
  • We're within easy reach of the shops here.

reach noun (LIMIT)

C2 [ S or U ] the limit within which someone can achieve something:

An expensive trip like that would be completely beyond/out of (my) reach (= I would not have enough money to pay for it).
After years of saving, the car was at last within (her) reach (= she had enough money to pay for it).

reach noun (PART)

reaches [ plural ]

a part of a river or part of an area of land:

The expedition set out for the upper reaches of the Amazon.
There was little snow on the lower reaches of the ski run.
We know very little about the farthest/outermost reaches of the universe.

the highest or lowest levels of an organization:

The news has shocked the upper reaches of the government.

(Definition of “reach” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"reach" in American English

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us /ritʃ/

reach verb (ARRIVE)

[ T ] to arrive somewhere:

The storm continues to move west and is expected to reach the east coast of Florida tomorrow.

reach verb (BECOME HIGHER)

[ T ] to become higher or greater so as to equal a particular level:

The temperature is expected to reach 90° today.
The government fears unemployment will reach 10%.

[ T ] To reach is also to develop to a stage in order to achieve a particular result:

We hope to reach agreement soon on the new trade policy.
They reached the conclusion that nothing further could be done.

reach verb (STRETCH)

[ I/T ] to stretch out your arm to its full length in order to take or touch something:

[ T ] Our little girl isn’t tall enough to reach the light switches.
[ I always + adv/prep ] She reached across the table and took his hand.

[ I/T ] If an object reaches something, the top or bottom of it touches that thing:

[ T ] The ladder won’t quite reach the roof.

reach verb (COMMUNICATE)

[ T ] to communicate with someone in another place, usually by telephone:

I’ve been trying to reach you all afternoon, but your phone was busy.

Phrasal verb(s)

reachnoun [ U ]

us /ritʃ/

reach noun [ U ] (STRETCH)

the distance to which you can put out your arm and touch something:

All medicines should be kept out of the reach of children.

(Definition of “reach” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"reach" in Business English

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reachverb [ T ]

uk /riːtʃ/ us

to get to a particular high or higher level:

Profits are expected to reach $11.2 billion in the hotel industry next year.
reach a record/an all-time high Stocks reached a record 10-month high.

MARKETING to succeed in advertising or selling a product or service to a particular group of people:

The internet is a major tool for reaching new customers.

to achieve something after careful thought or discussion:

reach a conclusion/decision
reach a compromise/deal
reach (an) agreement on sth

to make an agreement after careful thought or discussion:

The company is understood to have reached an agreement with its principal backers.
The four leaders reached agreement on an $820 million state construction program.

to communicate with someone in a different place, especially by phone or email:

He's out of the office right now, but I'll try and reach him on his cellphone.
If you can't get through on the phone, you can always reach us by email.


uk /riːtʃ/ us

[ S ] MARKETING the number of people that a company is able to advertise or sell a product or service to:

a broad/global/international reach
The company's reach has expanded from 170 million users last year to more than 500 million this year.
expand/extend/increase your reach The merger will double the size of the company and extend its reach into larger markets in six additional states.
reaches [ plural ]

the highest or lowest levels of an organization or system:

the higher/lower/upper reaches of sth Many shares on the lower reaches of the stock market have enjoyed a buoyant run.
beyond/out of (sb's) reach also beyond/out of the reach of sb

that someone is not able to get or buy:

Now even small starter homes are priced out of the reach of low-income working people.
within (sb's) reach also within the reach of sb

that someone is able to get or buy:

She felt that the job she had always wanted was finally within reach.
A high percentage of these homes are within financial reach of moderate-income families.

(Definition of “reach” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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