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[dih-sten-did] /dɪˈstɛn dɪd/
increased, as in size, volume, etc.; expanded; dilated:
the distended nostrils of the terrified horse.
swollen, by or as by internal pressure, out of normal size or shape; protuberant:
distended wineskins; the distended arteries of his neck.
Origin of distended
1590-1600; distend + -ed2
Related forms
distendedly, adverb
distendedness, noun


[dih-stend] /dɪˈstɛnd/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to expand by stretching, as something hollow or elastic:
Habitual overeating had distended his stomach.
to spread in all directions; expand; swell:
The sea distended about them.
1375-1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French destendre) < Latin distendere, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + tendere to stretch
Related forms
distender, noun
overdistend, verb
undistend, verb (used with object)
1. See expand. 1, 2. enlarge, bloat.
1, 2. shrink, contract. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distended
  • If the colon does not contract properly, the splenic flexure can become distended.
  • Flanking his skull are two silver ear spools, which would have been placed inside his hugely distended earlobes.
  • What is dissipated, divided, and distended rots and falls to the ground.
  • Patients often suffer fatigue, distended abdomens and fragile and painful bones.
  • Others walk with the distended bellies of imminent birth.
  • It's a curious move for an organization that, by its leaders' admission, is distended after a decade of nonstop growth.
  • In the camps, children with hollow eyes and distended stomachs struggle for life in hospital tents.
  • We learned to cope with a town distended beyond its capacity.
  • When the distended follicle ruptures, the bacteria release substances that cause inflammation.
  • It is only after stomach muscles have wasted that the distended bellies so sadly familiar from television pictures appear.
British Dictionary definitions for distended


to expand or be expanded by or as if by pressure from within; swell; inflate
(transitive) to stretch out or extend
(transitive) to magnify in importance; exaggerate
Derived Forms
distender, noun
distensible, adjective
distensibility, noun
distension, distention, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin distendere, from dis-1 + tendere to stretch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for distended



c.1400, from Latin distendere "to swell or stretch out, extend," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Related: Distended; distending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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distended in Medicine

distend di·stend (dĭ-stěnd')
v. dis·tend·ed, dis·tend·ing, dis·tends
To swell out or expand or cause to swell out or expand from or as if from internal pressure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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