1

strain

noun \ ˈstrān \

Definition of strain

1 a : lineage, ancestry
b : a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions
  • a high-yielding strain of winter wheat
; broadly : a specified infraspecific group (such as a stock, line, or ecotype)
c : kind, sort
  • discussions of a lofty strain
2 a : inherited or inherent character, quality, or disposition
  • a strain of weakness in the family
b : trace, streak
  • a strain of fanaticism
3 a : tune, air
b : a passage of verbal or musical expression
c : a stream or outburst of forceful or impassioned speech
4 a : the tenor, pervading note, burden, or tone of an utterance or of a course of action or conduct
b : mood, temper

Origin and Etymology of strain

Middle English streen progeny, lineage, from Old English strēon gain, acquisition; akin to Old High German gistriuni gain, Latin struere to heap up — more at strew


2

strain

verb

Definition of strain

transitive verb
1 a : to draw tight : cause to fit firmly
  • strain the bandage over the wound
b : to stretch to maximum extension and tautness
  • strain a canvas over a frame
2 a : to exert (oneself, one's senses, etc.) to the utmost
b : to injure by overuse, misuse, or excessive pressure
  • strained his back
c : to cause a change of form or size in (a body) by application of external force
3 : to squeeze or clasp tightly: such as
a : hug
b : to compress painfully : constrict
4 a : to cause to pass through a strainer : filter
b : to remove by straining
  • strain lumps out of the gravy
5 : to stretch beyond a proper limit
  • that story strains my credulity
6 obsolete : to squeeze out : extort
intransitive verb
1 a : to make violent efforts : strive
  • has to strain to reach the high notes
b : to pull against resistance
  • a dog straining at its leash
c : to contract the muscles forcefully in attempting to defecate often used in the phrase strain at stool
2 : to pass through or as if through a strainer
  • the liquid strains readily
3 : to make great difficulty or resistance : balk
strain a point
: to go beyond a usual, accepted, or proper limit or rule

Examples of strain in a Sentence

  1. I strained my back trying to lift the couch.

  2. Too much computer work strains the eyes.

  3. He strained a muscle in his leg.

  4. His muscles strained under the heavy weight.

Origin and Etymology of strain

Middle English, from Anglo-French estreindre, from Latin stringere to bind or draw tight, press together; akin to Greek strang-, stranx drop squeezed out, strangalē halter

strain Synonyms

Synonyms
pull, rack, stretch, wrench
Antonyms
loosen, slack, slacken
Related Words
fray, tax, weaken; damage, harm, hurt, impair, wound; batter, bruise, tear; cripple, lame, mangle, mutilate
Near Antonyms
break, ease (up), let up, slacken; bum, chill, dally, dillydally, footle, goldbrick, goof (off), hack (around), hang (around or out), idle, laze, loaf, lounge, shirk, slack (off), veg out; bask, loll, relax, repose, rest, unwind; dabble, doodle, fool around, fribble, goof (around), hang, hang about [British], mess around, monkey (around), play, potter (around), putter (around), trifle

3

strain

noun

Definition of strain

1 : an act of straining or the condition of being strained: such as
a : bodily injury from excessive tension, effort, or use
  • heart strain
; especially : one resulting from a wrench or twist and involving undue stretching of muscles or ligaments
  • back strain
b : excessive or difficult exertion or labor
c : excessive physical or mental tension; also : a force, influence, or factor causing such tension
  • a strain on the marriage
d : deformation of a material body under the action of applied forces
2 : an unusual reach, degree, or intensity : pitch
3 archaic : a strained interpretation of something said or written

First Known Use of strain

1558



STRAIN Defined for English Language Learners

strain

verb

Definition of strain for English Language Learners

  • : to injure (a body part or muscle) by too much tension, use, or effort

  • : to try very hard to do or get something

  • : to be pulled or stretched in a forceful way


STRAIN Defined for Kids

1

strain

noun \ ˈstrān \

Definition of strain for Students

1 : a group of closely related living things that look similar but possess one or more unique characteristics
  • Scientists are developing a new strain of wheat.
2 : a quality or disposition that runs through a family or group
  • There's a strain of genius in that family.
3 : a small amount : trace
  • There was a strain of sadness in his voice.
4 : melody 2, tune

2

strain

verb

Definition of strain for Students

strained; straining
1 : to stretch or be stretched, pulled, or used to the limit
  • My muscles strained under the load.
2 : to stretch beyond a proper limit
  • The story strains the truth.
3 : to try very hard : make a great effort
  • People in the back strained to hear.
4 : to injure or be injured by too much or too hard use or effort
  • Don't strain your back.
5 : to press or pass through a strainer : filter
  • strain juice
6 : to pour off liquid from by using a strainer
  • Boil and then strain the pasta.

3

strain

noun

Definition of strain for Students

1 : great worry and concern or physical effort
  • Perhaps, the pressures of everyday stress and strain had gotten her down.
  • —E. L. Konigsburg, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
2 : something that causes great worry and concern or physical effort
  • Running the business was a strain on him.
  • The heavy load was a strain on her back.
3 : bodily injury resulting from too much use or from a wrench or twist that stretches muscles and ligaments
4 : a force that pulls or stretches something to its limit : stress

Medical Dictionary

1

strain

noun \ ˈstrān \

medical Definition of strain

: a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions
  • a highly virulent strain of bacteria

2

strain

transitive verb

medical Definition of strain

1 a : to exert (as oneself) to the utmost
b : to injure by overuse, misuse, or excessive pressure
  • strained his heart by overwork
c : to cause a change of form or size in (a body) by application of external force
2 : to cause to pass through a strainer
intransitive verb
: to contract the muscles forcefully in attempting to defecate often used in the phrase strain at stool

3

strain

noun

medical Definition of strain

: an act of straining or the condition of being strained: as
a : excessive physical or mental tension; also : a force, influence, or factor causing such tension
b : bodily injury from excessive tension, effort, or use
  • heart strain
; especially : one resulting from a wrench or twist and involving undue stretching of muscles or ligaments
  • back strain
— compare sprain
c : deformation of a material body under the action of applied forces


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