noun \ˈstrān\

Definition of STRAIN

a :  lineage, ancestry
b :  a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions <a high-yielding strain of winter wheat>; broadly :  a specified infraspecific group (as a stock, line, or ecotype)
c :  kind, sort <discussions of a lofty strain>
a :  inherited or inherent character, quality, or disposition <a strain of madness in the family>
b :  trace, streak <a strain of fanaticism>
a :  tune, air
b :  a passage of verbal or musical expression
c :  a stream or outburst of forceful or impassioned speech
a :  the tenor, pervading note, burden, or tone of an utterance or of a course of action or conduct
b :  mood, temper

Origin of STRAIN

Middle English streen progeny, lineage, from Old English strēon gain, acquisition; akin to Old High German gistriuni gain, Latin struere to heap up — more at strew
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Biology Terms

autochthonous, fecund, homunculus, phylogeny, substrate



: to injure (a body part or muscle) by too much tension, use, or effort

: to try very hard to do or get something

: to be pulled or stretched in a forceful way

Full Definition of STRAIN

transitive verb
a :  to draw tight :  cause to fit firmly <strain the bandage over the wound>
b :  to stretch to maximum extension and tautness <strain a canvas over a frame>
a :  to exert (as oneself) to the utmost
b :  to injure by overuse, misuse, or excessive pressure <strained his back>
c :  to cause a change of form or size in (a body) by application of external force
:  to squeeze or clasp tightly: as
a :  hug
b :  to compress painfully :  constrict
a :  to cause to pass through a strainer :  filter
b :  to remove by straining <strain lumps out of the gravy>
:  to stretch beyond a proper limit <that story strains my credulity>
obsolete :  to squeeze out :  extort
intransitive verb
a :  to make violent efforts :  strive <has to strain to reach the high notes>
b :  to pull against resistance <a dog straining at its leash>
c :  to contract the muscles forcefully in attempting to defecate —often used in the phrase strain at stool
:  to pass through or as if through a strainer <the liquid strains readily>
:  to make great difficulty or resistance :  balk
strain a point
:  to go beyond a usual, accepted, or proper limit or rule

Examples of STRAIN

  1. I strained my back trying to lift the couch.
  2. Too much computer work strains the eyes.
  3. He strained a muscle in his leg.
  4. His muscles strained under the heavy weight.

Origin of STRAIN

Middle English, from Anglo-French estreindre, from Latin stringere to bind or draw tight, press together; akin to Greek strang-, stranx drop squeezed out, strangalē halter
First Known Use: 14th century



Definition of STRAIN

:  an act of straining or the condition of being strained: as
a :  bodily injury from excessive tension, effort, or use <heart strain>; especially :  one resulting from a wrench or twist and involving undue stretching of muscles or ligaments <back strain>
b :  excessive or difficult exertion or labor
c :  excessive physical or mental tension; also :  a force, influence, or factor causing such tension <a strain on the marriage>
d :  deformation of a material body under the action of applied forces
:  an unusual reach, degree, or intensity :  pitch
archaic :  a strained interpretation of something said or written

First Known Use of STRAIN

May 22, 2015
nepotism Hear it
favoritism based on kinship
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