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strecken

Meanings

1.
to stretch
(If you stretch yourself, you need to use a self reference in German "sich+Acc strecken". In a context of sports, "sich dehnen" is the more common term)
2.
to unbend
(For arms and legs.)
Opposite (closest): beugen
3.
to dilute
(For substances only, including drugs. The core theme is that you make it "last longer" because it's "more". So the focus is not primarily on making it "thinner".)

Word Family

Root: *(s)ter-

The core idea of this root was:

stiff, rigid

Pretty simple, but it evolved into quite a few different directions.

Here’s an (incomplete) list of English family members:

  • stark – (“strong, rigid”, shifted toward serious)
  • starch – (“makes mush thick, stiff”)
  • stern – (“rigid”)
  • to start – (“jumping up quickly, stiff muscles”)
  • to startle – (Same as “start” but shifted toward the cause)
  • to stare – (“stiff gaze”, same as German “starren”)
  • starve – (“stiff corpse”, same as German “sterben” – to die)
  • torpedo – (“make numb”, from a Latin name for an electric ray fish that numbs you. Military name first used for sea mines, because they “sting” your ship)
  • stereo – (Greek word for “solid”, they used it among other things for “solid 3D perception, I suppose)

The root is also the origin of the Slavic word star-, which means old.

 

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