How to Say Stretch in French: A Comprehensive Guide

Bonjour! In this guide, we will explore different ways to say “stretch” in French, covering both formal and informal expressions. Whether you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country, engaging in conversation with a native speaker, or simply broadening your vocabulary, this guide will provide you with useful tips, examples, and regional variations where necessary.

Formal Expressions

When it comes to formal language, you’ll often encounter “stretch” in professional or academic contexts. Here are some expressions you can use:

1. Étirer

The word “étirer” is the standard formal term for “to stretch” in French. It can be used in various contexts, such as sports, exercise, or physical therapy. For example:

Avant de faire de l’exercice, il est important de bien s’étirer.

(Before exercising, it’s important to stretch properly.)

2. Allonger les muscles

Another formal expression to convey the notion of stretching is “allonger les muscles,” which specifically focuses on lengthening the muscles. For instance:

N’oubliez pas d’allonger vos muscles après une séance d’entraînement intense.

(Don’t forget to stretch your muscles after an intense workout.)

3. Étendre

In certain formal contexts, especially related to physical rehabilitation or physiotherapy, the word “étendre” can also be used to express the idea of stretching. For example:

Le médecin m’a conseillé d’étendre doucement ma jambe blessée.

(The doctor advised me to gently stretch my injured leg.)

4. Faire des étirements

To indicate the act of stretching itself, you can use the phrase “faire des étirements” which translates to “to do some stretching.” It can be used in formal situations or when discussing specific exercises:

Pour éviter les crampes, il est recommandé de faire des étirements réguliers.

(To avoid cramps, it is recommended to do regular stretching.)

Informal Expressions

When speaking in a casual or informal setting, you may want to use less formal expressions for “stretch.” Here are some options:

1. S’étirer

Similar to the formal term, “s’étirer” is widely used in informal conversations as well. It’s a versatile verb that can be used in various contexts, such as sports, morning routines, or simply feeling the need to stretch. For example:

Je m’étire toujours le matin pour bien commencer ma journée.

(I always stretch in the morning to start my day off right.)

2. Se dégourdir

In informal French, another way to express “stretching” is by using the verb “se dégourdir,” which means “to loosen up” or “to stretch one’s limbs.” This expression is often used in a more figurative sense as well. Here’s an example:

Après une longue journée de travail assis, il est bon de se dégourdir un peu.

(After a long day of sitting at work, it’s good to stretch a bit.)

Regional Variations

While French is primarily spoken in France, it is also an official language in many other countries. Regional variations of certain expressions may occur, so it’s always interesting to adapt to local vocabulary. Here are a few examples:

1. Faire des assouplissements (Canada)

In Canada, particularly in Quebec, you may come across the phrase “faire des assouplissements” to refer to stretching. This expression is widely understood across the French-speaking world but is more commonly used in Canadian French.

2. Écarter les jambes (France)

In France, a colloquial way to express stretching one’s legs is by using the expression “écarter les jambes.” This phrase is more specific and usually refers to a particular type of stretch, such as a split or straddle stretch.


Voilà! You now know various ways to say “stretch” in French. Remember, “étirer” is the go-to formal term, while “s’étirer” is commonly used in informal settings. Don’t hesitate to adapt to regional vocabulary when necessary. Enhancing your French vocabulary will help you better communicate with native speakers and immerse yourself in French culture. Practice these expressions regularly to become more confident in using them. Joyeux apprentissage! (Happy learning!)

Leave comment