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 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, "Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams sang at the Kennedy Center. And it turned the electricity back on.," 27 Sep. 2020 Iran has also broken nearly every stricture of the pact since the U.S. departure. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Trump: US to demand 'snap back' of UN sanctions against Iran," 19 Aug. 2020 Since then, Iran has increasingly violated the original strictures of the deal. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "UN atomic watchdog says Iran in violation of all nuclear deal restrictions," 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, "Getting Away With It," 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,, "The Money Taboo That Central Banks Have Shied Away From So Far," 28 Apr. 2020 Those who break such strictures are smitten (or whacked with fines of up to 4% of global turnover). The Economist, "Charlemagne Privacy in a pandemic," 23 Apr. 2020 While dioceses in the United States have been forced to adjust to new conditions, Catholic churches worldwide have faced tougher strictures. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "'The Church is not canceled': Priests scramble to reach faithful during pandemic," 17 Mar. 2020 Regulators have eased strictures recently by lowering the amount of reserves smaller banks must keep with the central bank, to give them more financial flexibility. Chao Deng, WSJ, "Fancy Meals and Loans for Friends: China’s Banks Face Costly Cleanup," 21 Jan. 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Stricture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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

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