stretch verb

1 pull sth tight

ADV. taut/tautly, tight/tightly Make sure that the rope is stretched tight. Stretch the fabric tightly over the frame.

PREP. across, between, over Striped awnings had been stretched across the courtyard.

2 your body/part of the body

ADV. gently | lazily, luxuriously He stirred and stretched lazily. | full-length Andrea turned out the light and stretched full-length on the bed. | down, forwards, out, up, upwards She stretched up to reach the top shelf.

3 cover a large area

ADV. far The wood does not stretch very far. | endlessly | ahead, away The road stretched ahead.

VERB + STRETCH seem to The beach seemed to stretch endlessly.

PREP. along, beyond, for The beach stretches for five miles. | from, into, to an area which stretches from London to the north

4 continue over a period of time

ADV. endlessly | back, out The town's history stretches back to before 1500.

PREP. before Endless summer days stretched out before us. | into The talks look set to stretch into a second week.

5 your ability/intelligence

ADV. really | fully We can't take on any more work?we're fully stretched as it is.

PREP. to This department is stretched to its limit.