a kind of litter, often of canvas stretched on a frame, for carrying the sick, wounded, or dead.
a similar litter on wheels, adapted for use in ambulances and hospitals.
a person or thing that stretches.
any of various instruments for extending, widening, distending, etc.
a bar, beam, or fabricated material, serving as a tie or brace.
Masonry. a brick or stone laid in a wall so that its longer edge is exposed or parallel to the surface. Compare header ( def 5a ).
a simple wooden framework on which the canvas for an oil painting is stretched.
a framework connecting and bracing the legs of a piece of furniture.
one member of this framework.
a crosspiece that is set athwart and near the bottom in a small boat, and against which the feet of a rower are braced.
one of the thin, sliding rods connecting the canopy and handle of an umbrella.
verb (used with object)
to stretch (canvas for a painting) on a stretcher.

1375–1425; late Middle English stretcher. See stretch, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stretcher (ˈstrɛtʃə)
1.  a device for transporting the ill, wounded, or dead, consisting of a frame covered by canvas or other material
2.  a strengthening often decorative member joining the legs of a chair, table, etc
3.  the wooden frame on which canvas is stretched and fixed for oil painting
4.  a tie beam or brace used in a structural framework
5.  Compare header a brick or stone laid horizontally with its length parallel to the length of a wall
6.  rowing a fixed board across a boat on which an oarsman braces his feet
7.  (Austral), (NZ) a camp bed
8.  slang an exaggeration or lie
9.  to transport (a sick or injured person) on a stretcher

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. streccan, from P.Gmc. *strakjanan (cf. Dan. strække, Swed. sträcka, O.Fris. strekka, O.H.G. strecchan, M.L.G., M.Du., O.H.G., Ger. strecken "to stretch"), perhaps a variant of the root of stark, or else from PIE base *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist"
(see strain). Meaning "to extend (the limbs or wings)" is from c.1200; that of "to lay out for burial" is from early 13c. To stretch one's legs "take a walk" is from c.1600. Meaning "to lengthen by force" first recorded late 14c.; figurative sense of "to enlarge beyond proper limits, exaggerate," is from 1553. Stretch limo first attested 1973. Stretch marks is attested from 1960. Stretcher "canvas frame for carrying the sick or wounded" is first attested 1845.

1540s, "act of stretching," from stretch (v.); meaning "unbroken continuance of some activity" is first recorded 1680s; meaning "straightaway of a race course" (e.g. home stretch) is recorded from 1841.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

stretcher stretch·er (strěch'ər)
A litter, usually of canvas stretched over a frame, used to transport the sick, wounded, or dead.

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

stretch definition

  1. n.
    a period of time. (Folksy.) : Let's talk here for a stretch and then go up and see if dinner's ready.
  2. n.
    a prison term. : I was away for a stretch of about seven years.
  3. in.
    to hang (as with a death sentence). : You will stretch for this, Lefty!
  4. tv.
    to cut or dilute a drug. : Let's stretch this stuff, sell it, and then blow town.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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