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adjective \ˈstrāt\

Definition of STRAIT

archaic :  strict, rigorous
a :  narrow
b :  limited in space or time
c :  closely fitting :  constricted, tight
a :  causing distress :  difficult
b :  limited as to means or resources
strait·ly adverb
strait·ness noun

Origin of STRAIT

Middle English, from Anglo-French estreit, from Latin strictus strait, strict, from past participle of stringere
First Known Use: 13th century



Definition of STRAIT

:  in a close or tight manner

First Known Use of STRAIT

13th century



: a narrow passage of water that connects two large bodies of water

straits : a very difficult situation

Full Definition of STRAIT

a archaic :  a narrow space or passage
b :  a comparatively narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water —often used in plural but singular in construction
c :  isthmus
:  a situation of perplexity or distress —often used in plural <in dire straits>

Examples of STRAIT

  1. Her campaign is in desperate straits.
  2. The company is in desperate financial straits.
  3. The economy is in dire straits.

First Known Use of STRAIT

14th century

Synonym Discussion of STRAIT

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, straits, crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events <an important juncture in our country's history>. exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation <provide for exigencies>. emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster <the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies>. contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence <contingency plans>. pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency <come through in a pinch>. straits applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult <in dire straits>. crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference <a crisis of confidence>.

Other Oceanography Terms

littoral, sound
STRAITLY Defined for Kids


noun \ˈstrāt\

Definition of STRAIT for Kids

:  a narrow channel connecting two bodies of water
:  a situation of difficulty or distress —often used in pl. <The lost hikers were in dire straits.>


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