It is only recently that I became aware of yet another meaning of the verb ‘to stretch‘. A couple of weeks ago my husband, who had been offered his dream job, reported that after hiring him his future boss said ‘We’ll stretch you‘. It sounded a bit menacing, I thought.
Today a fellow translator asked my opinion on the sentence ‘People learn how not to make mistakes by being in a climate where they are stretched‘. By then I was well prepared to clarify the meaning of ‘stretching’ people.
‘To stretch somebody‘ means ‘to make someone use all their intelligence or ability, especially in a way that is interesting or enjoyable’ (MacMillan Dictionary). Not so menacing, after all!
Some more examples of usage:
– I agree that G&T (gifted and talented) students do need exceptional teachers, ones who don’t feel threatened by them, who are open to being challenged beyond the usual and open to many things. Indeed a multi-subject specialist of some sort would fit the bill. G&T students too often coast and we must push and stretch them (The Guardian).
– Don’t delegate anything that is totally beyond the knowledge, understanding or capability of the person you’re delegating to. It’s the difference between stretching people and drowning them (The Guardian).
– A tenth of home-schooling parents say that one of their children has a physical or mental problem that the local school cannot or will not accommodate. And some parents teach at home because their children are brilliant and public school fails to stretch them (The Economist).