narrow

1 of 3

adjective

nar·​row ˈner-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce narrow (audio)
ˈna-(ˌ)rō
1
a
: of slender width
a long and narrow room
b
: of less than standard or usual width
a narrow sidewalk
c
of a textile : woven in widths usually less than 18 inches (46 centimeters)
2
: limited in size or scope
a narrow interpretation
3
a
: illiberal (see illiberal sense a) in views or disposition : prejudiced
the days of cold hearts and narrow mindsT. B. Macaulay
b
chiefly dialectal : stingy, niggardly
4
a
: barely sufficient : close
won by a narrow margin
b
: barely successful
a narrow escape
5
: minutely precise : meticulous
a narrow inspection
6
of an animal ration : relatively rich in protein as compared with carbohydrate and fat
7
narrowly adverb
narrowness noun

narrow

2 of 3

verb

narrowed; narrowing; narrows

transitive verb

1
: to decrease the breadth or extent of : contract
often used with down
2
: to decrease the scope or sphere of : limit
often used with down
narrow down the choices

intransitive verb

: to lessen in width or extent : contract
often used with down

narrow

3 of 3

noun

: a narrow part or passage
specifically : a strait connecting two bodies of water
usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

Example Sentences

Adjective The city's ancient streets are too narrow for buses. We crossed at the narrowest part of the river. His shoulders are very narrow. within the narrow limits allowed by law They offer a narrow range of flavors: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. the study's narrow focus on 30-year-old men The study was narrow in scope. a narrow view of politics Verb The path was narrowed by overgrowth. His eyes narrowed as he focused on the words in front of him. The vase narrows at its top. narrowing the range of options You'll need to narrow the focus of your paper to one central idea. The gap between their salaries was beginning to narrow. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The Warriors need to win anywhere on the road — big or small crowd, imposing or vulnerable opponent, wide or narrow margin. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Jan. 2023 There’s a new standalone shower, black tile flooring, and a small gray vanity that sits next to a narrow but tall linen cabinet. Megan Johnson, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Jan. 2023 In other words, Republicans have been given a narrow, but very real, opportunity to lead. Rafi Schwartz, The Week, 9 Jan. 2023 Pants can be worn puddled or cropped, full or narrow, but a suit—in whatever variation—offers a sartorial one-two punch. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 9 Jan. 2023 Audits can be broad or narrow and may focus on specific internal inclusion initiatives, established external-facing social justice commitments, or an urgent examination of where companies are perpetuating racial disparities, discrimination, or harm. Byellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 6 Jan. 2023 Wide at the middle and narrow at the rim, the tulip silhouette yields the best Champagne glasses for savoring your sparkling wine’s flavors and foam. Maria Conti, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2023 Ron Bellus, who knew and worked with Pearce for years, said liberals and a left-leaning media painted Pearce with too narrow of a brush. Andrew Oxford, The Arizona Republic, 5 Jan. 2023 Their more-narrow-than-expected majority in the chamber after last fall's midterms allowed far right conservatives to prevent Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy from rising to the speaker role. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2023
Verb
The Biden administration’s overhaul of the I.R.S. is central to its plan to narrow the $7 trillion tax gap — payments that individuals and businesses owe but that are expected to go uncollected over the next decade. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2023 Tokyo is aiming to narrow a vast military gap with China and reach a stalemate that will help maintain peace, as well as counter North Korea’s growing military power. Alastair Gale, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2022 Njoku caught the short pass to the right, stiff-armed safety Jessie Bates and stretched the ball over the pylon to narrow the gap to 20-10. cleveland, 20 Dec. 2022 The Lady Lions bolted to a 5-0 second-set cushion, and never trailed, though Bishop Lynch managed to narrow the gap to 15-13; but Spears keyed a 7-1 run with three kills and junior Nicole Foster closed out the set. Mike Waters, Dallas News, 12 Nov. 2022 After a month of intense backlash, Biogen made a request to narrow the label to the population studied in clinical trials. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 29 Dec. 2022 Google requires a three-step process for geofence warrants to narrow their scope to only those most likely to be guilty of a crime. WIRED, 28 Nov. 2022 Wide receiver Quez Watkins, who lost a key fumble Monday, had a 22-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter Sunday to narrow the Eagles’ deficit to 13-10. Mark Maske, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Nov. 2022 The Ridgeways assumed those listed with earlier donor numbers had been at the center the longest and tried to narrow their choice to those profiles. Nadia Kounang, CNN, 21 Nov. 2022
Noun
There are options for the wide and the narrow of feet, for minimalist fans and thick-sole pounders, for mountain speedsters and fire-road plodders—and every runner in between. Justin Nyberg, Outside Online, 14 May 2015 Despite his considerable narrow-mindedness, Simmons found a counterintuitive wisdom in his bodily extremism, a blind faith only in that which facilitates maximum performance—call it optimization on steroids. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2022 Democratic societies are encountering unprecedented challenges, which come not only from authoritarian regimes but equally from inside a society with narrow-mindedness, greed for power, and material desire, which are ingrained in human nature. Stephen Mooallem, Harper's BAZAAR, 1 Nov. 2021 Neither enjoys a large-enough back seat to support adults for hours on end, but the Ford squeezes out a narrow of victory in cargo room. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, 26 June 2021 No Trump-supporting, independent, or conservative-leaning characters appear except as foils to help illustrate the narrow-mindedness of the main subjects. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2020 Ranked choice changes the very act of voting by allowing people to shift their support from losing candidates to more viable options as the field narrows, essentially doing on paper what caucusgoers have typically done in person. Jacey Fortin, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2020 Further on, as the road narrows and deteriorates, there are fewer women. New York Times, 2 Feb. 2020 Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – have the most to lose on Super Tuesday as the crowded field narrows and the front runners emerge. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 27 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'narrow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Verb, and Noun

Middle English narowe, from Old English nearu; akin to Old High German narwa scar

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of narrow was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near narrow

Cite this Entry

“Narrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/narrow. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

narrow

1 of 3 adjective
nar·​row ˈnar-ō How to pronounce narrow (audio)
1
a
: of slender width
a narrow space
b
: of less than usual width
narrow roads
2
: limited in size or scope
a narrow selection of jeans
3
: not broad or open in views or opinions
narrow in their thinking
4
a
: barely enough for the purpose : close
won by a narrow margin
b
: barely successful
a narrow escape
narrowly adverb
narrowness noun

narrow

2 of 3 noun
: a narrow part or passage
especially : a strait connecting two bodies of water
usually used in plural

narrow

3 of 3 verb
: to lessen in width or extent : contract

More from Merriam-Webster on narrow

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