narrow

adjective
nar·row | \ ˈner-(ˌ)ō , 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 d) 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

narrow

verb
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

narrow

noun

Definition of narrow (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other words from narrow

Adjective

narrowly adverb
narrowness noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There is a small contingent of Democrats from states that Trump won in 2016 who face narrow paths to reelection this fall. Nash Jenkins, Time, "Here's What the Key Senators Think About Brett Kavanaugh Right Now," 10 July 2018 To escape, the children must dive through dark, narrow passageways sometimes no more than two-feet (0.6- meter) wide, that have challenged some of the world's leading cave divers. Tassanee Vejpongsa And Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Houston Chronicle, "4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside," 9 July 2018 Musk, who studied physics, has floated ideas on Twitter such as using a double-layer Kevlar pressure pod or a long inflatable air sock to penetrate the narrow passageways and provide a rescue conduit. Fortune, "Elon Musk’s Team Due in Thailand to Help Rescue Soccer Team Trapped in Flooded Cave," 7 July 2018 The divers, for example, were thwarted again and again by rising floodwater that forced them to pull out of the extremely narrow passageway to the cave. NBC News, "How search-and-rescue crews found the missing Thai boys soccer team," 2 July 2018 The cave complex extends several kilometers (miles) and has wide chambers and narrow passageways with rocky outcrops and changes in elevation. Tassanee Vejpongsa, The Seattle Times, "Flooding complicates cave search for Thai soccer team," 26 June 2018 There were few empty spots along the riverfront and spectators crowded the narrow paths snaking through Hart Plaza to catch the show. Hasan Dudar, Detroit Free Press, "Boom! Firework display awes huge crowd in Detroit, Belle Isle, Windsor," 25 June 2018 Their lack of pride in their queerness took the organization down a narrow path. Devlyn Camp, Chicago Reader, "History / LGBTQ+ / News What I learned about gay pride from the Mattachine Society," 22 June 2018 But the narrow path for Democrats to reclaim the Senate runs precariously through states that Trump won, including Florida. Alex Leary And Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Bill Nelson faces long, hard path to reelection in his toughest campaign in years," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even though revenues fell, the budget deficit narrowed to $74.86 billion in June, compared with $90.23 billion in June 2017, due to a 9% drop in government outlays. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "U.S. Government Revenues Drop in Wake of Tax Cuts," 12 July 2018 President Trump had narrowed his list of contenders for the nation’s highest court to four by the time Air Force One touched down outside Washington on July 8. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 Some diagrams online show one passageway narrowing to as little as 38 cm—about 15 inches—at its tightest point. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk built a “submarine” to rescue Thailand kids—here’s what it looks like," 8 July 2018 Trump picks The president has reportedly narrowed his list of potential nominees to three: Barrett, Judge Raymond Kethledge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit. NBC News, "Trump's potential court picks scrutinized for 'code' words on Roe v. Wade," 6 July 2018 Beyond Chicago *Trump narrows Supreme Court list to three. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Morning Spin: Emanuel says departing Supreme Court Justice Kennedy not 'a modern-day King Solomon'," 6 July 2018 All this makes for steady upward motion, accented by how the upper third of the tower, which holds the condos, narrows to an average of less than 9,300 square feet per floor. John King, SFChronicle.com, "New nimble, frisky SoMa tower fits neatly into surroundings," 6 July 2018 With the deficit narrowed to 13-11 and West Boynton runners on first and third and the winning run at the plate with one out, Dean Dragos took the mound in relief and shut the door with a strikeout and a fielder's choice. Gary Curreri, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boca Raton Senior All-Stars rally to district title in best-of-3 series," 30 June 2018 The spread between Brent and West Texas Intermediate has narrowed to less than $6 a barrel this morning. Lorcan Roche Kelly, Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The divers, three Navy SEALS, and a doctor, brought the boys up from the perilous depths two at a time, working through the cavern's narrows turns and murky water with precision. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "All 12 Thai Boys Rescued From Cave," 10 July 2018 Angry scratches marked his narrow back, mementos of scrambling through the brush at the border. NBC News, "In the chaos of Trump's policy reversal, families aren't split but monitored," 24 June 2018 Right now, in the face of America’s reactionary narrow-mindedness, the work’s insistent cross-cultural heterogeneity feels joyfully subversive. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "'Made in L.A. 2018': Why the Hammer biennial is the right show for disturbing times," 5 June 2018 The mouth of the narrows, the flats on the east side from the mouth up past the ranch house north and from the ranch house to the island in the afternoon when the fish are over deep water. sacbee, "Fishing line: Sacramento River sees plenty of stripers and shad | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Apr. 2018 Furthermore, as communication narrows, constituents may be less likely to feel represented. Gregory Koger, Vox, "The job of Congress: a primer," 17 Apr. 2018 To Vista Point/trailhead parking: From campgrounds (no RVs or trailers allowed past campgrounds), continue ahead, make a very sharp left turn and continue (the roads narrows, so drive slowly) for 0.2 of a mile to parking and restroom on right. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Castle Crags’ spectacular little seen world," 5 Apr. 2018 Still, with every new bomb discovered, the evidence grows and, investigators hope, the space between the hunter and the hunted narrows ever so slightly. Manny Fernandez, Serge F. Kovaleski And John Ismay, New York Times, "For Austin Bomb Investigators, Each New Blast Offers New Clues," 20 Mar. 2018 While the jobs gap between blacks and whites narrows, other economic gaps between the races persist. Valerie Wilson, demographic economist at Economic Policy Institute, points to huge disparities in wealth. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "After 40 Years, the Black-White Labor Force Participation Gap Has All But Closed," 11 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of narrow

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

History and Etymology for narrow

Adjective

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

Verb

see narrow entry 1

Noun

see narrow entry 1

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Learn More about narrow

Phrases Related to narrow

narrowly define

the straight and narrow

Statistics for narrow

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for narrow

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

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More Definitions for narrow

narrow

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of narrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: long and not wide : small from one side to the other side

: including or involving a small number of things or people : limited in range or amount

: almost not successful : very close to failure : almost not enough for success

narrow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of narrow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) less wide

: to become less wide

: to make (something) smaller in amount or range

narrow

adjective
nar·row | \ ˈner-ō \
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

narrow

verb
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.

narrow

noun

Kids Definition of narrow (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Comments on narrow

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