strait·​en ˈstrā-tᵊn How to pronounce straiten (audio)
straitened; straitening ˈstrāt-niŋ How to pronounce straiten (audio)

transitive verb

: to make strait or narrow
: to hem in : confine
archaic : to restrict in freedom or scope : hamper
: to subject to distress, privation, or deficiency
in straitened circumstances

Examples of straiten in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But her circumstances did not remain straitened for long. Jess Bergman, The New Republic, 20 Feb. 2023 Generally, its decisions tend toward loosening rather than straitening the rules. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2019 Despite the fact that the family's construction firm is relatively prosperous due to its generous share of government contracts, the family's finances are considerably straitened. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 9 Mar. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'straiten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of straiten was circa 1552

Dictionary Entries Near straiten

Cite this Entry

“Straiten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


strait·​en ˈstrāt-ᵊn How to pronounce straiten (audio)
straitened; straitening ˈstrāt-niŋ How to pronounce straiten (audio)
: to limit or restrict especially in resources
straitened by misfortune

More from Merriam-Webster on straiten

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