The rubber band stretched almost to the breaking point.
1659 December 30 (date written), Robert Boyle, New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air, and Its Effects, (Made, for the Most Part, in a New Pneumatical Engine)[…], Oxford, Oxfordshire: […] H[enry] Hall, printer to the University, for Tho[mas] Robinson, published 1660, OCLC633153238:
The inner membrane […] because it would stretch and yield, remained unbroken.
Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path […]. It twisted and turned,[…]and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn. And, back of the lawn, was a big, old-fashioned house, with piazzas stretching in front of it, and all blazing with lights.
To make great demands on the capacity or resources of something.
1960 March, “Talking of Trains: The problem of the peak”, in Trains Illustrated, page 130:
By the fullest exploitation of modern signalling, multiple-unit operation and flying and burrowing junctions the S.R. has greatly increased the capacity of its tracks to carry this growing load of peak-hour passengers, but that capacity is now stretched to the limit.
a. 1941, Evelyn Underhill, quoted in 2010, Evelyn Underhill, Carol Poston, The Making of a Mystic: New and Selected Letters of Evelyn Underhill (page 81)
In the afternoon I went for a stretch into the country, & about 4 it cleared up pretty well, so I hurried back & we got a cart & drove to Bassano, a little town about 8 miles off, that we wanted to see.
(baseball) A quick pitching delivery used when runners are on base where the pitcher slides his leg instead of lifting it.
(baseball) A long reach in the direction of the ball with a foot remaining on the base by a first baseman in order to catch the ball sooner.
“Hey, Stretch,” he shouted at a tall, spectacled co-worker, “turn the fucking station, will you? You know I can't stand Rush, and it's all they play on this one. If I hear those assholes whine 'Tom Sawyer' one more time, I may go on a fucking killing spree.
After the harvest there was a stretch of clear dry weather, and the animals toiled harder than ever […]
(Ireland) Extended daylight hours, especially said of the evening in springtime when compared to the shorter winter days.
There is a grand stretch in the evenings.
(sports) The period of the season between the trade deadline and the beginning of the playoffs.
2000, GBaseball Dynasties: The Greatet Teams of All Time, page 179:
The '42 Cardinals are best known for their amazing stretch run. St. Louis won 43 of their last 51 games and came back from a double-digit deficit in games in early August to edge out the Dodgers for the N.L. flag.
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