Definition of at a stretch in English:

at a stretch

phrase

  • 1In one continuous period:

    ‘I often had to work for over twenty hours at a stretch’
    • ‘There is the possibility of continuous rain lashing the city for 10 hours or more at a stretch at least twice during this period.’
    • ‘For those who prefer wearing jeans for long hours at a stretch, or wear a pair for several days while on a hike or holiday, a comfort fit or a relaxed fit could be far more comfortable than a regular fit or a tapering fit.’
    • ‘In addition to the 18 hours a week she spends riding and lifting weights, she builds her own trails, laboring with shovel and pickax for six hours at a stretch.’
    • ‘There are times I have practiced 10-11 hours at a stretch.’
    • ‘Nobody noticed that I didn't eat for eighteen or twenty hours at a stretch.’
    • ‘Also, interns in hospitals often are made to work for more than 30 hours at a stretch - without any ‘real’ sleep breaks.’
    • ‘Of O'Hanlon, who is paying £50 a day for the privilege, they expect nothing except that he will stay in his bunk while they work, for up to 30 hours and more at a stretch.’
    • ‘There are frequent outages, the generators trip, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that it is not the wealthy areas that have to do without electricity for eight hours at a stretch.’
    • ‘And for the next few days, the exhausted scientist slept almost round the clock, making up for the months when he often worked 36 hours at a stretch.’
    • ‘At two points during my mission, I will wear blood pressure monitors on my arm and my fingers for twenty-four hours at a stretch.’
  • 2Only with difficulty or in extreme circumstances:

    ‘it is aimed at one age group, adults, or, at a stretch, business studies students’
    • ‘Now, had it not been, we would have done one of three things: moved somewhere else with a better primary, fiddled the system to get her into a good school in a different catchment area or, at a stretch, gone private.’
    • ‘From what I understand she was born in India and didn't come here until she was 14, so even at a stretch we cannot claim she was Scottish born and bred.’
    • ‘Don't get me wrong - I'm all for posthumanity, and thus at a stretch prehumanity as construct.’
    • ‘Instead the prevailing feeling is of woodiness, of being in a lofty barn or, at a stretch, a medieval great hall.’
    • ‘Yet, at a stretch, your verse reads as a kind of continuous narrative of self.’
    • ‘Its flexibility extends to its passengers too: it is capable of seating three people comfortably and four at a stretch, and is intended to make the point that it is wasteful to own a larger car when a smaller one will do.’
    • ‘Mr Hoult said that at a stretch, local authorities could cope with a disaster on the scale of Lockerbie.’
    • ‘One could, at a stretch, defend Moore by saying that while he might think the average Joe puts himself at more risk by owning a gun, trained bodyguards who undoubtedly know how to use them make people safer.’
    • ‘One could, at a stretch, suggest that there are so few prisoners likely to be interested in voting that permitting it for those who do care would make no difference to any single election.’