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



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In the physical sciences and engineering, a number that describes the relative deformation of elastic, plastic, and fluid materials under applied forces. It arises throughout the material as the particles of the material are displaced from their usual position. Normal strain is caused by forces perpendicular to planes or cross sections of the material, such as in a volume that is under pressure on all sides. Shear strain is caused by forces that are parallel to, and lie in, planes or cross sections, such as in a short metal tube that is twisted about its longitudinal axis. See also deformation and flow.


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