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noun \ˈstrān\

Definition of strain

  1. 1a :  lineage, ancestryb :  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>

  2. 2a :  inherited or inherent character, quality, or disposition <a strain of madness in the family>b :  trace, streak <a strain of fanaticism>

  3. 3a :  tune, airb :  a passage of verbal or musical expressionc :  a stream or outburst of forceful or impassioned speech

  4. 4a :  the tenor, pervading note, burden, or tone of an utterance or of a course of action or conductb :  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




Simple Definition of strain

  • : 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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  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>

  3. 2a :  to exert (as oneself) to the utmostb :  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

  4. 3 :  to squeeze or clasp tightly: asa :  hugb :  to compress painfully :  constrict

  5. 4a :  to cause to pass through a strainer :  filterb :  to remove by straining <strain lumps out of the gravy>

  6. 5 :  to stretch beyond a proper limit <that story strains my credulity>

  7. 6 obsolete :  to squeeze out :  extort

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1a :  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

  10. 2 :  to pass through or as if through a strainer <the liquid strains readily>

  11. 3 :  to make great difficulty or resistance :  balk

strain a point
  1. :  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

  1. 1 :  an act of straining or the condition of being strained: asa :  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 laborc :  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

  2. 2 :  an unusual reach, degree, or intensity :  pitch

  3. 3 archaic :  a strained interpretation of something said or written


First Known Use of strain


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February 11, 2016

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