nar·​row | \ ˈner-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce narrow (audio) , ˈna-(ˌ)rō \

Definition of narrow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
3a : illiberal (see illiberal sense a) in views or disposition : prejudiced the days of cold hearts and narrow minds— T. B. Macaulay
b chiefly dialectal : stingy, niggardly
4a : 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


narrowed; narrowing; narrows

Definition of narrow (Entry 2 of 3)

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



Definition of narrow (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Other Words from narrow


narrowly adverb
narrowness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for narrow

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of narrow in a Sentence

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 Staked at the fringes of George Fishler’s green lawn on a narrow street in the foothills of Mount Olympus, the red and black text sign calls out for attention like a campaign endorsement. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 June 2022 Spacing: Some shelves have very narrow spacing between the tines while others provide more room for thick or curved plates. Carolyn Forté, Good Housekeeping, 21 June 2022 These systems were programmed with brittle rules and canned responses and could only handle a very narrow set of use cases without breaking down. Gaurav Tewari, Forbes, 10 June 2022 Mourners filled the narrow street to press against the vehicle and pay their respects. New York Times, 30 May 2022 The worksite was on a narrow street bordered by homes. Globe Staff,, 28 May 2022 As of Wednesday morning, the race was down to the wire between establishment candidate Dave McCormick, a finance wizard who served in the George W. Bush administration, and Oz, who had opened up a very narrow lead. David Faris, The Week, 18 May 2022 But British fish and chip shops, which traditionally operate under very narrow margins, are feeling a particular squeeze because of the industry's reliance on Russian imports. Anna Cooban, CNN, 16 May 2022 The group was nearly evenly matched by about 15 local and federal law enforcement officers who stood in front of Kavanaugh’s home as demonstrators slowly walked up and down one block of his narrow street. Dan Morse, Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So, in 2020, the team turned to A.I. to try to narrow down the hits. Andrew Chapman, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Apr. 2022 The fall docket already includes Merrill v. Milligan, an Alabama redistricting case that could give the court’s conservative majority an opportunity to further narrow the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for example. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 7 Apr. 2022 The transparency law is intended to narrow the gender pay gap, especially for women of color. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2022 And with the Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, watching from near midcourt, L.S.U., which rallied in the fourth quarter on Saturday to beat Jackson State, scrambled again late to try to narrow the gap. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 Oregon State entered the ninth inning holding a three-run lead, but Ducks designated hitter Brennan Milone belted a two-run homer to left field to narrow Oregon’s deficit to 8-7. oregonlive, 7 May 2022 Make sure to narrow your search to your area to find the best keywords that people are searching for. Yec, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 More important, Ukraine has succeeded in pushing Russia to narrow its goals down to conquering the East rather than destroying the entire nation. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 Detectives were then able to use DNA found at the crime scene along with info in public DNA databases – and the mountain of data the students helped organize - to narrow the killer down to Gilham and two of his brothers in the fall. Kc Baker,, 1 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: 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 |, 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.

First Known Use of narrow


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


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


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for narrow

Adjective, Verb, and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for narrow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for narrow

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Narrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for narrow


nar·​row | \ ˈner-ō How to pronounce narrow (audio) \
narrower; narrowest

Kids Definition of narrow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : of slender or less than usual width …Kino ran straight to the narrow dock where the fishing boats bobbed up and down…— Pearl S. Buck, The Big Wave
2 : limited in size or extent We had a narrow range of choices.
3 : not broad or open in mind or views They are narrow in their thinking.
4 : barely successful : close We made a narrow escape.

Other Words from narrow

narrowly adverb
narrowness noun


narrowed; narrowing

Kids Definition of narrow (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to make or become less wide … his yellow eyes narrowed to slits.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
2 : to limit in number : become fewer The list of candidates has been narrowed to ten.



Kids Definition of narrow (Entry 3 of 3)

: a narrow passage connecting two bodies of water usually used in pl.

More from Merriam-Webster on narrow

Nglish: Translation of narrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of narrow for Arabic Speakers


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