narrow

adjective
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 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 plural but singular or plural in construction

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from narrow

Adjective

narrowly adverb
narrowness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for narrow

Synonyms: Adjective

fine, hairline, needlelike, paper-thin, skinny, slender, slim, slim-jim, thin, ultrathin

Antonyms: Adjective

broad, fat, wide

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The columns on floors where the inner and outer angles intersect, where the building shape is most narrow, do not shift. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Engineering the Vista Tower," 3 Sep. 2019 Most states espouse a common-law understanding of public nuisance that is much narrower than the relevant statute in Oklahoma, notes Richard Ausness of the University of Kentucky Law School. The Economist, "Johnson & Johnson, Purdue and other opioid-peddlers face a reckoning," 29 Aug. 2019 Lethal traffic accidents frequently happen in the region, where roads are often narrow and potholed. Rodney Muhumuza, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ugandan police say 20 killed in deadly motor accidents," 19 Aug. 2019 And gynaecologist Kjersti Aagaard of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says that the focus on vaginal seeding could be too narrow. Sara Reardon, Scientific American, "Trials Test if C-section Babies Benefit From Mom’s Microbes," 17 Aug. 2019 Seats are too narrow to seat two average-size adults, reducing capacity. 4. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Disneyland ride capacity: How long will you have to wait in line?," 16 Aug. 2019 That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging. al, "Broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck raise questions," 15 Aug. 2019 That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging. Anchorage Daily News, "Autopsy finds broken bones in Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death," 15 Aug. 2019 That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging. oregonlive.com, "Autopsy finds broken bones in Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Four people are running to become Braintree’s mayor in a September preliminary election that will narrow the field to two for the final in November. Johanna Seltz, BostonGlobe.com, "Four candidates vie to become Braintree’s mayor," 7 Aug. 2019 Instead, the primary would simply serve to narrow the electoral field to four finalists at most. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "New ballot initiative seeks to change state elections," 5 July 2019 Early voting for the primary opens on June 28, and the primary — which will narrow the field to two candidates — will take place Aug. 13. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "It’ll be a crowded race for open Ramsey County Board seat — and everyone’s talking TCAAP," 20 June 2019 That will narrow the field of four remaining candidates to a final two. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Boris Johnson Edges Closer to Downing Street in Third-Round Vote," 19 June 2019 In the first round, on June 13, any candidate with fewer than 17 votes was eliminated, narrowing the field by three. Christina Boyle, latimes.com, "And then there were four: a primer on the race in Britain to succeed Theresa May," 19 June 2019 The data are about to pour in, ready to narrow the field. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Astronomers Think They Can Explain Mysterious Cosmic Bursts," 10 Mar. 2019 The data are about to pour in, ready to narrow the field. Quanta Magazine, "With a Second Repeating Radio Burst, Astronomers Close In on an Explanation," 28 Feb. 2019 The judges narrowed the field of 51 candidates during the pageant Sunday night from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Fox News, "New Miss America is glad she didn't have to wear swimsuit to win," 10 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The chromoly steel frame and aluminum subframe keep the bike narrow. Joe Michaud, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 KTM 790 Duke: a lightweight, midsize rocket of a bike," 25 Aug. 2019 But the question remains where their supporters will fall as the field narrows without any candidate doing much to break away from the rest of the pack. Shannon Pettypiece, NBC News, "Biden holds the center, but does little to pick up ground," 1 Aug. 2019 If the strategy is to go wide, Chile will force you to play narrow. Luis Miguel Echegaray, SI.com, "History, Rivalry Front and Center in Both Copa America Semifinals," 1 July 2019 Time is told by the rising up and rolling down of the sunlight on the cliffs, by the glimpse of Cassiopeia in the narrows turning around the polestar through the stardust of perfect clear September nights. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 Your own pulse will pound at many points during Todd Douglas Miller’s film, which opens this week exclusively in IMAX, as befits the subject, then widens, or more properly narrows, next week to conventional screens as well. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Apollo 11’ Review: Houston, We’ve Got a Classic," 28 Feb. 2019 The Steyers’ home sits on a bluff overlooking the narrows known as the Golden Gate, the traditional point of entry to San Francisco, a gilded city named for a saint who venerated poverty. Rob Haskell, Vogue, "Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer on Impeaching Trump, Getting Out the Vote, and Winning in 2020," 14 Nov. 2018 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 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

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.

See More

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, Verb, and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about narrow

Statistics for narrow

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for narrow

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on narrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with narrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for narrow

Spanish Central: Translation of narrow

Nglish: Translation of narrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of narrow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on narrow

What made you want to look up narrow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!