Green’s Dictionary of Slang

stretch v.

1. to hang, to be hanged; thus stretcher n., a hangman [abbr. SE stretch one’s neck].

[UK]G. Gascoigne (trans.) Supposes IV ii: A rope stretch you, marry [...] Thou wilt be hanged, I warrant thee.
[UK]‘W.S.’ Lamentable Tragedie of Locrine II ii: Here good fellow take it at my command, Vnlesse you meane to be stretcht.
[UK]Rowlands Humours Ordinarie G: Or else heele haue it with a fiue and a reach, Although it cost his necke the Halter stretch.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Coxcomb V i: Either of which, if I can catch, shall stretch for ’t.
[UK]J. Mabbe (trans.) Life of Guzman Pt I Bk I 7: I would willingly indure thy taunts [...] though my owne father should stretch for it, and giue the Gallowes it’s first handsell.
[UK]F. Quarles Virgin Widow V i: A halter stretch ye.
[UK]Witts Recreations Epigram No. 167: Cacus in’s cunning ne’r so prov’d o’r-reacht As now at last, who must be halter-stretcht.
[UK] ‘The Golden Farmer’s Last Farewell’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) I 244: A most notorious Wretch, / I many years have been, / For which I now at length must stretch, / A just Reward for Sin.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: He’ll Stretch for it, he’ll be Hang’d.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy V 69: Then Lutener’s-lane a gay Couple did bring, / Two better, I think, was ne’er stretch’d in hemp-string.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 29: (Colonel stretching himself.) lady sm.: Why, Colonel, you break the King’s Laws, you stretch without a Halter.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 527: Bold rogues as ever stretch’d a string.
[Ire] in Irish Songster [song title] De Night before Larry was Stretch’d.
[Ire] ‘Larry’s Stiff’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 6: As soon as poor Larry was stretche’d, / De boys de soon cut him down proper.
[UK]‘Newgate Melody’ in Morn. Post 17 Apr. 3/4: The Jury and the judge, oh Jack Ketch! / Have agreed that Tim Higgins must stretch.
‘James O’Bryan, the Informer’ in Croker Memoirs of Joseph Holt I 311: Oh! de night before Jemmy was stretch’d, / De spies de all ped him a visit.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 293: ‘The Night before Larry was stretched,’ was done by a bishop, they say.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 318/1: stretch, He’ll stretch for it, il sera pendu pour cela.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 248: STRETCH, abbreviation of ‘stretch one’s neck,’ to hang.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 17 July 8/5: [T]o to be hanged is to be topped, tucked up, turned up, stretched.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 28 July 7/5: Nothing has equalled for excitement and style the ‘necktie sociable’ when eleven unfortunates ‘pulled hemp’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 198: You old, smuggling horse-thief, you’ve put the double on me often enough, but I’ll stretch you for this job.
[Ire]J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World Act III: shawn: Come on to the peelers till they stretch you now. / christy: Me! / michael: ...you’d best come easy, for hanging is an easy and a speedy end.
[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 33: If what the Willsson dame gives us ain’t enough to stretch him, I’m a pickpocket.
[US]Z. Grey Robbers’ Roost 231: Hays, that’s your last morning’s stretch . . . Before this day’s done you’ll stretch forever!
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Stretcher, the hangman (prison).
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ Third Policeman (1974) 85: ‘There is no option but to stretch you for the serious offence.’ ‘Stretch me?’ ‘Hang you by the windpipe before high breakfast time.’.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 213/2: Stretch, v. [...] 2. To hang; to lynch.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 820: stretch – To hang a person.

2. to lie.

[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 318/1: stretch, [...] se dit aussi pour mentir. He stretched stoutly, il a fameusement menti.

3. (also stretch out) to knock down, to kill [SE stretch (someone) out on the ground].

[US]W.G. Simms Forayers 195: Benny Bowlegs [...] has already knocked over half a dozen more, and I have stretched out as many.
[Aus]Rockhampton Bull. (Qld) 2 Oct. 2/6: Tierney got an axe [...] and struck the women with it so violently as to cut her nose, black both eyes, and ‘stretch’ her o the ground.
[UK]W.B. Churchward Blackbirding In The South Pacific 35: If a man got stretched in a grog shop, the ‘boss’ would only throw him out into the road, whether dead or alive.
[UK]Kipling ‘The Big Drunk Draf’’ in Soldiers Three (1907) 35: Wid that I stretched Peg Barney, boot an’ all, an’ wint into the camp.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 55: This yere second Mexican is downed on the run-in [...] Enright, who’s close in, jumps some lead into him an’ stretches him.
[UK]G.R. Sims In London’s Heart 294: If it hadn’t been for this hound I’d have stretched one of you out.
[US]Black Mask Aug. III 14: I’ll stretch you as cold as an old maid’s stare.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 158: If the yarns about him is true, he come mighty near bein’ stretched once or twice, an’ his luck can’ last for ever.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Rock 80: A fight busts out between two more of the boys [...] One gets stretched.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 19: He [...] picked a fight, stretched out his man, and he felt a lot better.

4. of a man, to have sexual intercourse [? link to stretch leather under leather n.].

[US](con. 1940s) G. Mandel Wax Boom 72: How many of you stretched that back-road stuff?

5. see stretch (it)

6. (US drugs) to adulterate and extend the volume of cocaine with baking soda, etc.

[US]T.I. ‘Trap Muzik’ [lyrics] Keep the coke stretched out Like Carl Lewis' hamstrings / Stepped on like I'm working / With the dance team / Triple beam ain't seen / What I do to a ounce of blow.

7. (US drugs) to fill a vial of crack cocaine.

[US]Burns & Price ‘Corner Boys’ Wire ser. 4 ep. 8 [TV script] I’m stretchin’ bottles, mom.

In phrases

stretch someone’s neck (v.)

to hang; thus neck-stretching n. and adj., hanging; get one’s neck stretched v., to be hanged.

[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd series (1880) 10: This world is awfle contrary: the rope may stretch your neck.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 248: STRETCH, abbreviation of ‘stretch one’s neck,’ to hang.
[US]Chicago Times in Asbury Gangs of Chicago (1940) 91: Nearly a hundred murders since 1865 and not a single neck stretched!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 22/4: We strongly object to an altogether unnecessary neck-stretching staff being kept up by the country at a cost of £270 per annum and ‘extras.’.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 216: Either he’s out to throw this party loose, or stretch his neck.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 120: You better keep your head working [...] or you’ll get your neck stretched.
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 153: You’d think he was the [...] first innocent man in history to get his God-damned neck stretched.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 94: If he promises to stretch a fella’s neck he’ll do it, regardless.
[US](con. 1941) C. Chessman Cell 2455 227: I’d probably get my neck stretched for treason.
[US]‘Ed McBain’ Killer’s Wedge (1981) 123: I don’t want to see my neck stretched for something somebody else did.
stretch (the) hemp (v.) (also pull hemp, stretch a line) [the hempen noose]

to be hanged or to hang oneself.

[UK]T. More Confutation of Tyndale Answer VIII Pt II 788: Nor fereth to mocke the sacrament the blessed body of god, & full lyke a stretche hempe, call it but cake brede or starche.
[UK]Hereford Times 5 May 6/5: California Slang.—When they hang fellow to a tree among the diggings, they say, ‘he pulls hemp’.
[US]J.H. Green Secret Band of Brothers 46: Yes, he is the very villain. I know enough about him to make him stretch hemp, if he had his dues.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Down in Tennessee 86: He’s afeard o’ pullin’ hemp, an’ kingdom come.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 82: They oughta make you stretch a line like this bird Little.
[US]O. Strange Sudden 30: If we had a marshal worth a busted nickel, yu’d be stretchin’ hemp right now.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 213/2: Stretch hemp. To pay extreme penalty by hanging.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

stretch (it) (v.) [SE stretch the truth]

to exaggerate, to lie; thus stretching n., lying.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: He Stretcht hard, told a whisking Ly.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: stretching. [...] telling a great lie: he stretched stoutly.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Aus]G. Seagram Bushman All 274: Don’t be stretching it, Charlie; sure it’s only three.
stretch out (v.) [jazz use stretch out, to play to one’s limits, with no restraints other than one’s stamina and skill]

1. (US black) to live one’s life without restraint, to act uninhibitedly.

[US]N. Heard Howard Street 243: Then I’m gon’ really stretch out tough [...] I’ma have me a Cadillac in no time.

2. see sense 3 above.

stretch some jeans (v.) [the removal of one’s jeans or trousers]

(US prison, esp. homosexual) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]R.O. Scott Gay Sl. Dict. [Internet] stretch some jeans: [prison sl.] To do the sex act.
stretch someone’s breeches (v.) [the bent-over buttocks tighten the cloth that covers them]

to administer a thrashing.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 235/1: Stretch his breeches (Peoples’). Said of a boy who has been thrashed. It comes down from the time when the tight leather breech might be fairly said to be stretched when flattened.