at a stretch

Idioms & Phrases

at a stretch

Also, at one stretch. At one time, during one period. For example, Working quickly, she hoped to finish all the drawings at a stretch. In contrast to the nearly synonymous at a sitting, this idiom, first recorded in 1774, does not imply being seated while engaging in a single continuous activity. Rather, it transfers the meaning of stretch as "a continuous length" to "a continuous time period."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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