1

strait

adjective \ ˈstrāt \
|Updated on: 5 Aug 2018

Definition of strait

1 archaic : strict, rigorous
2 archaic
a : narrow
b : limited in space or time
c : closely fitting : constricted, tight
3 a : causing distress : difficult
b : limited as to means or resources

straitly

adverb

straitness

noun

Recent Examples of strait from the Web

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

strait or straight?

Straight and strait are homophones (“one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling”), and many people are in the habit of confusing such creatures, particularly when used in fixed phrases. If you express no emotion you have a straight face; an upright person is a straight shooter; a straight flush is “a poker hand containing five cards of the same suit in sequence.” However, if you find yourself in a difficult situation you are in dire straits. Straitjacket and straitlaced are the more commonly used forms for the restrictive garment and the “strict in manners” adjective, although straightjacket and straightlaced are also occasionally found.

Origin and Etymology of strait

Middle English, from Anglo-French estreit, from Latin strictus strait, strict, from past participle of stringere


2

strait

adverb

Definition of strait

obsolete
: in a close or tight manner

First Known Use of strait

13th century

in the meaning defined above

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3

strait

noun

Definition of strait

1 a archaic : a narrow space or passage
b : a comparatively narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water often used in plural but singular in construction
c : isthmus
2 : a situation of perplexity or distress often used in plural
  • in dire straits

Examples of strait in a Sentence

  1. Her campaign is in desperate straits.

  2. The company is in desperate financial straits.

  3. The economy is in dire straits.

Recent Examples of strait from the Web

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

First Known Use of strait

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Synonym Discussion of strait

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait (or straits) crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events.
    • an important juncture in our country's history
exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation.
    • provide for exigencies
emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster.
    • the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies
contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence.
    • contingency plans
pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency.
    • come through in a pinch
strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult.
    • in dire straits
crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference.
    • a crisis of confidence

Other Oceanography Terms



STRAIT Defined for English Language Learners

strait

Definition of strait for English Language Learners

  • : a narrow passage of water that connects two large bodies of water

  • straits : a very difficult situation


STRAIT Defined for Kids

strait

noun \ ˈstrāt \

Definition of strait for Students

1 : a narrow channel connecting two bodies of water
2 : a situation of difficulty or distress often used in pl.
  • The lost hikers were in dire straits.


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