stric·​ture | \ ˈstrik-chər How to pronounce stricture (audio) \

Definition of stricture

1a : an abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage also : the narrowed part
b : a constriction of the breath passage in the production of a speech sound
2 : something that closely restrains or limits : restriction moral strictures
3 : an adverse criticism : censure

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Did You Know?

Stricture has meant many things through the centuries, and its "restriction" meaning—probably the most common one today—is actually the most recent. High-school teachers often put strictures on texting during class. Cities concerned about their murder rate have slapped strictures on the possession of handguns. And the United Nations may vote to put strictures on arms sales to a country that keeps violating international treaties. With the meaning "strong criticism", stricture is slightly old-fashioned today, but it's still used by intellectuals. So, for example, an article may amount to a harsh stricture on the whole medical profession, or an art review may just express the critic's strictures on sentimental paintings of cute little houses with glowing windows.

Examples of stricture in a Sentence

the church's strictures on the morals and mores of contemporary society the new zoning strictures effectively make further development along the riverfront commercially unviable

Recent Examples on the Web

Philip is also the last of the royals to have a certain freedom despite the strictures of his gilded cage as the monarch’s consort. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "At 98, Prince Philip Is the Last of the Old-School Royals," 10 June 2019 The decision raises fears of a showdown between the Italian coalition and European Union officials, who would like the government to remain within the EU’s spending strictures. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Rally as Global Stocks Fall," 23 Oct. 2018 The men and the few women who came to the UpStairs Lounge were, in many ways, trapped by societal strictures. New York Times, "A Fire Killed 32 at a New Orleans Gay Bar. This Artist Didn’t Forget.," 9 July 2018 Within hours after the collapse, Salvini was vowing not to let European Union spending strictures on Italy, which is laden with public debt, stop any effort to make the country's infrastructure safe. Frances D'emilio, Fox News, "Rescuers comb concrete and steel after bridge collapse," 15 Aug. 2018 Also leave copies of your pet’s vaccinations and any recent medical work or necessary strictures such as whether the animal has any allergies. Robin Tribble, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make Sure Your Pets Have a Happy Holiday Too," 12 Nov. 2018 Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s day-to-day ruler, has sought to portray himself as a modernizer with plans to relax social strictures and attract foreign investment to remake its oil-dependent economy. Summer Said, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Women’s-Rights Activists in Widening Crackdown on Dissent," 20 Nov. 2018 In view of those strictures, the EU deal that emerged last Friday was vague and full of holes. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "Europe’s Threadbare Migration Plan Only Buys Time," 2 July 2018 Critics therefore question the legality of the petition as a ploy to get around this stricture—although only one of Ms Sereno’s 14 colleagues on the Supreme Court has objected. The Economist, "The chief justice of the Philippines is under attack," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stricture.' 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 stricture

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

History and Etymology for stricture

Middle English, from Late Latin strictura, from Latin strictus, past participle

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Statistics for stricture

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for stricture

The first known use of stricture was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for stricture



English Language Learners Definition of stricture

: a law or rule that limits or controls something
: a strong criticism


stric·​ture | \ ˈstrik-chər How to pronounce stricture (audio) \

Medical Definition of stricture

: an abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage (as from inflammation, cancer, or the formation of scar tissue) esophageal stricture also : the narrowed part

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More from Merriam-Webster on stricture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stricture

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stricture

Spanish Central: Translation of stricture

Nglish: Translation of stricture for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about stricture

Comments on stricture

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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