Etymology
Advertisement
reach (n.)

"continuous stretch or course," 1520s, from reach (v.); earliest use is of stretches of water. Meaning "extent of reaching" is from 1540s; that of "act of reaching" is from 1560s; that of "limit or scope of extension" is from 1570s. To be out of (one's) reach "unattainable" is by 1690s.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
[Browning, "Andrea del Sarto"]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
reach (v.)

Middle English rēchen, from Old English ræcan, reccan "to reach out, stretch or extend outward, hold forth, extend in continuity or scope," also "to succeed in touching, succeed in striking;" also "to address, speak to," also "to offer, present, give, grant."

This is proposed to be from Proto-West Germanic *raikejanan "stretch out the hand" (source also of Old Frisian reka "to give, pay," Middle Dutch reken, reiken, Old High German reihhen, reichen "give, reach out, get," Dutch reiken,  German reichen "to reach, to pass, to hand, to give; to be sufficient"), from Proto-Germanic *raikijanau, which is probably from PIE root *reig- "to stretch, stretch out, be stretched; be stiff."

Sometimes 16c. spelled retch. As "to hand (someone something), give" from c. 1300. The meaning "arrive at, succeed in getting to" is early 14c.; that of "succeed in influencing" is from 1660s. Related: Reached; reaching. Shakespeare uses the now-obsolete past tense form raught (Old English ræhte).

Colloquial reach-me-down "ready-made" (of clothes) is recorded from 1862, from notion of being on the rack in a finished state.

Related entries & more 
reachable (adj.)

"that may be reached, capable of being reached," 1690s; see reach (v.) + -able.

Related entries & more 
reacquaint (v.)

also re-acquaint, "make acquainted again, bring back into acquaintance," 1640s, from re- + acquaint. Related: Reacquainted; reacquainting.

Related entries & more 
reacquire (v.)

also re-acquire, "to get or gain anew, to obtain again," 1690s, from re- "back, again" + acquire. Related: Reacquired; reacquiring.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
reacquisition (n.)

also re-acquisition, "act of acquiring anew; that which is reacquired," 1796, from re- "back, again" + acquisition or else a noun formed to go with reacquire.

Related entries & more 
react (v.)

1640s, "to exert, as a thing acted upon, an opposite action upon the agent," from re- "back" + act (v.). Related: Reacted; reacting (1610s). For sense development, see reaction. The verb meaning "to perform again, do a second time" (often written re-actand given full pronunciation of the prefix to distinguish it from react) is from 1650s, from the "again" sense in re-.

Related entries & more 
reactant (n.)

"a reacting thing," 1901, from react + -ant. As an adjective by 1911. Related: Reactance (1893).

Related entries & more 
reaction (n.)

"action in resistance or response to another action or power," 1640s, from re- "back, again, anew" + action (q.v.). Modeled on French réaction, older Italian reattione, from Medieval Latin reactionem (nominative reactio), a noun of action formed in Late Latin from the past-participle stem of Latin reagere "react," from re- "back" + agere "to do, perform."

Originally a word in physics and dynamics. In chemistry, "mutual or reciprocal action of chemical agents upon each other," by 1836. The general sense of "action or feeling in response" (to a statement, event, etc.) is recorded from 1914. Reaction time, "time elapsing between the action of an external stimulus and the giving of a signal in reply," attested by 1874.

Related entries & more 
reactionary (adj.)

1831, "of or pertaining to political reaction, tending to revert from a more to a less advanced policy," on model of French réactionnaire (19c.), from réaction (see reaction). In Marxist use by 1858 as "tending toward reversing existing tendencies," opposed to revolutionary and used opprobriously in reference to opponents of communism. Non-political use, "of or pertaining to a (chemical, etc.) reaction" (1847) is rare. As a noun, "person considered reactionary," especially in politics, one who seeks to check or undo political action, by 1855.

Related entries & more 

Page 42