\ˈstrȯ \

Definition of straw 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : stalks of grain after threshing broadly : dry stalky plant residue used like grain straw (as for bedding or packing)

b : a natural or artificial heavy fiber used for weaving, plaiting, or braiding

2 : a dry coarse stem especially of a cereal grass

3a(1) : something of small worth or significance

(2) : something too insubstantial to provide support or help in a desperate situation clutching at straws

b : chaff sense 2

4a : something (such as a hat) made of straw

b : a tube (as of paper, plastic, or glass) for sucking up a beverage

straw in the wind

: a slight fact that is an indication of a coming event



Definition of straw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made of straw a straw hat

2 : of, relating to, or used for straw a straw barn

3 : of the color of straw : pale yellow in color straw hair

4 : of little or no value : worthless

5 : of, relating to, resembling, or being a straw man

6 : of, relating to, or concerned with the discovery of preferences by means of a straw vote

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Other Words from straw


strawy \ˈstrȯ-ē \ adjective

Synonyms for straw

Synonyms: Adjective

blond (or blonde), fair, flaxen, golden, sandy, tawny

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Examples of straw in a Sentence


He was chewing on a straw. He asked for a straw for his iced tea. She drank the juice through a straw.


the cheese maker told us that the best Parmesan cheeses are straw, not white, in color
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Where do your favorite bars and restaurants fall on the plastic straw controversy? Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Zoo partnering with local bars on new straw initiative," 13 July 2018 Seattle became the first major U.S. city with a plastic straw ban on July 1. Caille Millner,, "A splash of cold water on straw-ban fervor: Many people with disabilities need them," 13 July 2018 That’s because straw and bamboo options, once saved for time spent at the beach, are now warm-weather staples. Sari Anne Tuschman,, "Summer’s hottest bag trend shouldn’t be saved for just beach days," 12 July 2018 Its disposability, too, was key to the popularity of Stone’s artificial drinking straw. Emelyn Rude, Time, "The Backlash Against Plastic Straws Is Spreading. Here’s How They Got So Popular in the First Place," 12 July 2018 In the photo, Maciunas wears a stern expression, a white suit, and a straw boater. Cate Mcquaid,, "Nam June Paik turned technology into art — and vice versa," 11 July 2018 Seattle even banned straws altogether and the city imposed a $250 fine on any establishment who doesn’t follow the rules. Madison Roberts,, "Why Starbucks And Other Companies Are Ditching Plastic Straws To Help Save the Environment," 11 July 2018 For that tennis outing, Pippa chose a summery white eyelet dress by Anna Mason with a straw clutch by J.Crew. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Pippa Middleton Just Wore the Perfect Summer Shirtdress to Wimbledon," 11 July 2018 The rising demand has allowed the small company to drop its wholesale price to about $1 to $1.50 per straw. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: How Brett Kavanaugh could rein in environmental rules on the Supreme Court," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The nation's largest auto finance company has dropped its lawsuit against auto dealer Russ Darrow over loans to what turned out to be straw buyers of luxury vehicles destined for China via a con man's business. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Finance firm drops suit against Russ Darrow dealership over straw buyers for fugitive con man," 24 Apr. 2018 Straw bags with pom-pom accents are sure to please., "4 cool new shops and galleries to discover around New Orleans," 8 July 2017 Straw blinds go up to the ceiling, concealing the fact that the windows are much shorter. Lisa Cregan, House Beautiful, "An Empty "White Cube" Apartment Gets Its Masterpiece Theatre Moment," 19 Jan. 2017

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

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First Known Use of straw


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for straw


Middle English, from Old English strēaw; akin to Old High German strō straw, Old English strewian to strew

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Statistics for straw

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for straw

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

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More Definitions for straw



English Language Learners Definition of straw

: the dry stems of wheat and other grain plants

: a single dry stem of a grain plant

: a thin tube used for sucking up a drink


\ˈstrȯ \

Kids Definition of straw

1 : dry plant stems (as of grain after threshing) a mat of straw

2 : a slender tube for sucking up a beverage

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Comments on straw

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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