strait

adjective
\ˈstrāt \

Definition of strait 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 archaic : strict, rigorous

2 archaic

a : narrow

b : limited in space or time

c : closely fitting : constricted, tight

3a : causing distress : difficult

b : limited as to means or resources

strait

adverb

Definition of strait (Entry 2 of 3)

obsolete

: in a close or tight manner

strait

noun

Definition of strait (Entry 3 of 3)

1a 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from strait

Adjective

straitly adverb
straitness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for strait

Noun

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

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.

Examples of strait in a Sentence

Noun

Her campaign is in desperate straits. The company is in desperate financial straits. The economy is in dire straits.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

India will have to gird for the coming border war with an expansionist China, and Taiwan will prepare for the inevitable cross-strait invasion. Jerry Hendrix, National Review, "Why the United States Needs a 355-Ship Navy Now," 18 Oct. 2017 While other performers revel in the inherent humor of their roles, Laura Carns is entrusted with the more strait-laced persona of Alice Sycamore. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Opera House brings new life to 'You Can't Take it With You'," 6 Sep. 2017 One of the world's most important sea lanes, millions of barrels of oil and petroleum products pass through the strait daily, according to GlobalSecurity.org. Brad Lendon And Steve George, CNN, "China sends troops to Djibouti, establishes first overseas military base," 13 July 2017 A laconic, strait-laced, hilariously hard-boiled investigator with an encyclopedic knowledge of perps past and present, Miramontes’ Charlie isn’t about to be led around by the nose by femmes Mona or Veronica. Orange County Register, "‘Kill Me, Deadly’ in Fullerton delivers dead-on parody of film noir," 29 Mar. 2017 Subsequent episodes, including one in which the most strait-laced teacher got looped on alcohol and ran wild and naked through the halls like a demented leprechaun, maintained the madcap standard. James Wolcott, HWD, "5 Underrated TV Shows You Should Watch Right Now," 18 Jan. 2017 Subsequent episodes, including one in which the most strait-laced teacher got looped on alcohol and ran wild and naked through the halls like a demented leprechaun, maintained the madcap standard. James Wolcott, vanityfair.com, "5 Underrated TV Shows You Should Watch Right Now," 18 Jan. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Of course, one concern for any population in such dire straits is genetic health. Robbie George, National Geographic, "Rule to Allow Hunting Could Doom Rare Red Wolves," 29 June 2018 Yet today actual contacts across the strait are rare, burdened by bureaucracy and costly travel. David Ramseur, Anchorage Daily News, "Forced closing of Russia’s Seattle consulate will set back U.S.-Russia relations," 26 Mar. 2018 One task force was named Bosporus, for the strait in Turkey separating Asia and Europe. New York Times, "Neo-Nazi Terrorist Jailed for Life in Case That Shamed Germany’s Spies," 11 July 2018 The strait is one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors and leads to the Suez Canal. Washington Post, "AP News Guide: What to know about Yemen’s yearslong war," 14 June 2018 The ongoing hiring binge is probably contributing to Tesla’s financial straits. Dana Hull, Bloomberg.com, "Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash," 30 Apr. 2018 Beijing lashed out, shutting down some cross-strait cooperation and ramping up military exercises in surrounding waters. Eva Dou, WSJ, "Taiwan Military Tails Chinese Aircraft Carrier," 21 Mar. 2018 The move has been viewed in Taiwan as a show of disrespect, one that could heighten the risk of a dangerous incident and potentially provoke a crisis in the increasingly tense cross-strait relationship. Chris Horton, New York Times, "Taiwan Retaliates Against Chinese Airlines, Hampering Lunar New Year Travel," 30 Jan. 2018 The insurance contracts Blackstone took out, known as credit-default swaps, typically pay out when a company defaults, usually reflecting dire financial straits. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Voters already fear economic pain from Trump's trade war," 9 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of strait

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for strait

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about strait

Phrases Related to strait

in dire straits

Statistics for strait

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for strait

The first known use of strait was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for strait

strait

noun

English Language Learners Definition of strait

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

straits : a very difficult situation

strait

noun
\ˈstrāt \

Kids Definition of strait

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on strait

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!