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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Slaves, outlaws, criminals, poor country folk, foreign emigrants and inner-city kids aren’t hampered by genteel aesthetic strictures. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "A celebration of the outsiders and outcasts who have made music great," 16 Oct. 2019 Barnard was bound by the same strictures but was under less scrutiny from a despised government desperate for the feel of international legitimacy. oregonlive, "The tragic, redemptive journey of one human heart," 5 Oct. 2019 Moreover, Ibsen had offered a scathing indictment of Norwegian society’s oppressive social strictures and its moral decay to protect those social norms. Christopher Wallenberg,, "Killing Bill is one thing, but now Uma Thurman has to tangle with Ibsen," 25 July 2019 But for all that’s going on, Phillips’ viewpoint is often feverishly interior and self-contained; a narrative stricture that serves the purpose, perhaps, of allowing viewer into the nightmarish, nonlinear world Arthur’s tortured mind occupies. Leah Greenblatt,, "Joaquin Phoenix’s captivating, unsettling Joker is no laughing matter," 10 Sep. 2019 But in nearly all cases, majorities of both Republicans and Independents supported tighter strictures on all the firearms policies. Melissa Healystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Even gun owners agree on measures that would reduce gun violence, survey shows," 10 Sep. 2019 Even with Rome's new policies, the capital has a long way to go to match Venice's strictures. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "You Could Be Fined $450 for Sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps," 8 Aug. 2019 Plenty of great art has eked out originality from within the strictures of genre. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 The couple is not under the strictures of a homeowners association, though the turn to self-sufficiency, now in its 11th year, did ruffle some feathers. Washington Post, "Lawns are in retreat. Is suburbia ready for the frontward veggie garden?," 11 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stricture

Time Traveler for stricture

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for stricture

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Stricture.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stricture


How to pronounce stricture (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!