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Edit: I was walking down an intolerably long sidewalk one day, and every time a mounted another hill, I saw more of it seeming to stretch out before me. It got me to thinking: is there a word for "going on and on for miles and miles?"

I'm looking for a single adjective that is aptly descriptive of a road that stretches for miles and never seems to end. I tried various words already; for example, it can't be ramifying because that word means branching out in different directions. Neither is it redounding, which has the idea of repetition. Long or lengthy would be too plain, while at the same time not saying enough.

So what I'm asking for is a single adjective (or present participle) that applies to a road or path and describes it as stretching out ahead for miles with no end in sight in a single word. Does this word even exist? If it does, what is it?

Example: It was a long road, stretching and ___ing as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

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If you can give us a sample sentence with a blank where the word should be, that would be helpful! :-) –  Kristina Lopez Mar 20 at 21:45
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Agreed with Kristina that a sample sentence would help clarify what you're asking for here. In general, you might try "perpetual", "eternal", "never-ending", "unending", or simply "endless". –  Curtis H. Mar 20 at 21:51
    
Endless or boundless (hyperbole, but evocative), measureless... –  heathenJesus Mar 20 at 21:53
    
Not sure about "boundless" - that would imply to me that it the road is also of infinite width. –  tobyink Mar 20 at 21:58
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roads don't change shape dynamically, so your example is likely to sound strange except as metaphor rather than description. –  Oldcat Mar 20 at 22:21

18 Answers 18

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Extensive, far-reaching, vast.

The other answers that propose expressions of infinity, timelessness, perpetuity, unending, etc. are off-base, IMO.

The question says that this extends for miles and miles.

  • It says nothing about going on forever. It does say no end in sight, but that is not the same as no end.

  • It clearly is about space, not time.

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So, extending? I like it. I think that will work! –  Brian J. Fink Mar 21 at 22:15
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@BrianJ.Fink "Extending as it went" is non-idiomatic and semantically ambiguous. The most likely interpretation of that phrase would be that the road actually becomes longer as one is travelling along it, a la the train tracks at the end of the Wallace and Gromit short "The Wrong Trousers." (A fun image, but probably not what you meant.) As a reader I would be extremely unlikely to interpret the phrase metaphorically. –  Kyle Strand Mar 21 at 23:52
    
@Kyle, seeming to extend before him as it went? –  Brian J. Fink Mar 22 at 0:03
    
@BrianJ.Fink Maaaaaaaaybe, but even that suggests a dream-like literal stretching of the road in the traveler's imagination (though not in reality)--which is perhaps what you want. But I'd suggest tobyink's answer of "unfold": seeming to unfold before him as it went. This can use some further refinement: for instance, the "as it went" is still a little odd; "as he went" would be clearer. –  Kyle Strand Mar 22 at 0:11
    
@Kyle sometimes language is obviously figurative, if the plain sense doesn't make sense. I still think people are smart enough to recognize the difference. Besides, it's not as if I'm going to write this in a book or something. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 22 at 0:19

Interminable

From the Free dictionary:

  1. Being or seeming to be without an end; endless. ...
  2. Tiresomely long; tedious.

We've been driving for hours! Every time we round a bend or top a hill, the road just keeps going. It's interminable! It goes on forever!

Edit after the question was revised:

It was a long road, stretching interminably as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

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Thanks but I'm looking for the picture of the road seeming to stretch out before you the more of it you traverse. See my example. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:04
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@Brian exactly :-) –  andy256 Mar 20 at 22:15
    
I'm sorry but that doesn't picture the action I have in mind. Great word, though. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:24
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Ah, the Web is such a poor mind-reading vehicle! –  andy256 Mar 20 at 22:37
    
@BrianJ.Fink I think you may not realize just how well this fits your question. "Stretching interminably into the distance" is about the most idiomatic (though possibly to the point of cliche) way to describe such a road that I can imagine. –  Kyle Strand Mar 22 at 0:00

Perpetual
adj. never ending or changing. Continuing or lasting for an indefinitely long time
Perpetually
adv. everlastingly; for all time; "rays...streaming perpetually from the sun"
Endless and Endlessly
having or seeming to have no end or limit and continuing forever without end

It was a an endless road, stretching perpetually ahead of us, as if it would never end.

It was a long road, stretching endlessly before me.

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I'm actually looking for a single word that encapsulates both meanings: stretching out before me, and unending. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:59
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"Endless" might be your best choice. I'm not convinced you can compress the meaning of stretching ahead and unending in a single word though. –  Mari-Lou A Mar 20 at 23:08
    
Perpetual refers to time, not distance. –  David Richerby Mar 21 at 23:43
    
@DavidRicherby Ever been on a journey that seemed it would never end? When you cover long distances, time is always involved. –  Mari-Lou A Mar 22 at 0:32
    
@Mari-LouA A "perpetual road" would be one that never ceased to exist; it might be only a block long. –  David Richerby Mar 22 at 1:25

"unending" is the simplest term for a road without end.

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Sorry, but roads can't "unend", lol. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:25
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The Indy 500 racetrack can. –  Oldcat Mar 20 at 22:27

It as a long road, stretching and unfolding as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

(Or perhaps unfurling?)

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Thanks, but I'm looking for something a little less appertaining to cloth, LOL. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:11
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I think they each work rather nicely for a road. They give the impression of a road that perhaps goes over hills, so that each time you crest a summit, a new length of the road is revealed. –  tobyink Mar 20 at 22:14
    
But can it be used in the adjectival position, with no other explanation? That was quite the unfolding road just doesn't have the same punch. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:17
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It was a long road... Not your fault, I know. –  Mari-Lou A Mar 20 at 23:14
    
@Mari-LouA No he means it as from the verb to ave –  Pierre Arlaud Mar 21 at 9:28

You're making this much harder than it really is.

The word you are looking for is "endless", used like this:

"He traveled what seemed an endless road. It was indeed a long and tiresome road, stretching out before him as though it would never reach its destination"

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Actually I meant them to be two separate examples of the same word. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 22 at 0:15

I'm partial to "infinity" or "infinitely"...

"It is a long road, stretching into infinity, as if it would never end."

OR

"It is a long road, stretching infinitely ahead, as if it would never end."

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Thanks, but is there a single word meaning "stretching into infinity"? –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:51
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@brianJfink Yes. Infinite. –  David M Mar 20 at 23:18

You may consider using "ever-" prefix in front of a desirable word. So you can give the additional meaning of "endless/continuous".

Thus, the best words that come to my mind are: ever-stretching and ever-lengthening. A less common but more creative one: ever-elongating.

They do not have a dictionary entry but they are used in literature.

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I like "continuous", "far-reaching", "incessant", or "enduring". "Never-ending" is a word, too.

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Thanks but I'm looking for the picture of the road seeming to stretch out before you the more of it you traverse. See my example. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 20 at 22:05

The first word that came to mind is spanning, which according to TFD's citation of AHD means

To extend across in space or time

Because it is a transitive verb, it needs an object, as in:

It was a long road, stretching and spanning the countryside as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

Span seems to imply boundedness, as in "a bridge that spans the gorge" (from TFD). But in both cases, the "spanner" is limited by what it spans: The bridge spans as long as there is a gorge to span, and the road as long as there is countryside. Emphasizing the size of the countryside, I think, helps.

Because of span's transitivity, the sentence above may be read as "the long road is stretching the countryside." If undesired, I remedied this by adding a preposition

It was a long road, stretching across and spanning the (infinite) countryside as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

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It was a long road, stretching and ___ing as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

If it has to be just one word to fill the blank, I'd go for "extending", or "unrolling", possibly "receding".

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Extending will work. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 21 at 22:24

You might consider:

unwinding: 2 (archaic) : to trace to the end e.g. unwinding the labryinth and bringing the hero out — Laurence Sterne

from m-w.com

Example: It was a long road, stretching and unwinding as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

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How does unwinding apply here? –  terdon Mar 21 at 3:52
    
Yes, my bad, it was the definition you posted that threw me off. You're thinking of something like I saw the road unwinding into the distance right? I still wouldn't use it to imply that something is interminable but yes, I see your point now. I edited your answer so I could retract my downvote (I can't unless the post is edited). –  terdon Mar 21 at 16:53
    
@terdon "Downvotes: downvotes everywhere." ;-) –  Jack Ryan Mar 21 at 17:02
    
This answer comes closest to my first thought, and I am surprised that it wasn't mentioned yet. Anybody who has ever heard the song should be able to fill in the blank in the long and ____ road by the Beatles? Yes, it is winding. And the song makes it clear that long and winding road (that leads to your door) is indeed seemingly neverending :) –  oerkelens Mar 22 at 11:35
    
@oerkelens Thanks for the moral support- at least it's only half as bad as the accepted answer ;-) –  Jack Ryan Mar 24 at 11:38

Unfurling. In the subjective perspective of the driver or viewer it was expected to end at some point. This can add a psychological element as well.

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After much consideration of the answers proffered so far, I had an idea: could the correct answer be lengthening, as in these examples?

He traveled what seemed a lengthening road.
It was indeed a long and tiresome road, stretching out and lengthening before him as though it would never reach its destination.

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It's a stretch. If you wish to use lengthening I would suggest: The road was long, in fact it seemed to be lengthening before his eyes. –  David M Mar 21 at 14:02

Ceaseless.

Unending.

*outstretching meandering as it went

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I like meandering and was considering several nomadic words like it too, such as ambling, sauntering, sojourning, etc., the idea being that the distance to cover was so expansive that the road could not stay (figuratively speaking) in one place for long. –  dingo_dan Mar 21 at 4:05
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Why the downvotes? –  Pierre Arlaud Mar 21 at 9:30
    
Probably couldn't assimilate the verisimilitude of my preeminently verbose vernaccuracy. C'est Le Vie –  TheGenesisBloke Mar 21 at 16:03

ad-infinitum as in:

The road stretched on ad-infinitum.

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Though I prefer "interminable" or almost any of the other words suggested, perhaps you would like "uroboric"/"ouroboric" the adjective derivation of "Ouroboros" - a circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity, which embodies the concept of reaching forward as well as behind in an infinite circle.

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converging or narrowing, to indicate the perspective

It was a long road, stretching and narrowing as it went, and it seemed like it would never end.

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My emphasis, if you've read my question in its entirety, is the successive discovery of additional length, not its apparently getting smaller in the distance. –  Brian J. Fink Mar 22 at 1:45

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