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 Many publications, including this one, have a general stricture against, say, using or mentioning the F-word. New York Times, 5 Apr. 2022 Apparently, in his home islands, a religious stricture forbade the harming of worms. Hampton Sides, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Sep. 2021 The government’s stricture on the publication of terrifying books proved pointless, there being plenty of terror to be read on the streets. Benjamin Wallace-well, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 Abiding by the District’s stricture that no more than 50 people gather, the arts center gave over the Opera House to a concert filled to only 2 percent of the auditorium’s capacity. Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2020 Iran has also broken nearly every stricture of the pact since the U.S. departure. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, 19 Aug. 2020 Since then, Iran has increasingly violated the original strictures of the deal. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, 5 June 2020 The five books that Zink has published since 2014 are defined by a fervent restlessness, a desire to ignore the strictures that usually confine the contemporary novel. Andrew Martin, The New York Review of Books, 13 May 2020 The stricture against direct financing has held up even through a series of crises when central bankers did in fact buy plenty of public debt. Ben Holland,, 28 Apr. 2020 See More

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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Time Traveler for stricture

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near stricture

strictum jus



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Last Updated

7 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stricture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for stricture


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

More from Merriam-Webster on stricture

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


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