To become expanded or inflated; to swell. "His heart distends with pride."

1. To extend in some one direction; to lengthen out; to stretch. "But say, what mean those coloured streaks in heaven Distended as the brow of God appeased?" (Milton)

2. To stretch out or extend in all directions; to dilate; to enlarge, as by elasticity of parts; to inflate so as to produce tension; to cause to swell; as, to distend a bladder, the stomach, etc. "The warmth distends the chinks." (Dryden)

Synonyms: To dilate, expand, enlarge, swell, inflate.

Origin: L. Distendere, distentum, distensum; dis- + tendere to stretch, stretch out: cf. F. Distendre to distend, detendre to unbend. See Tend, and cf. Detent.

(01 Mar 1998)