stric·​ture | \ˈstrik-chər \

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

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 The difficulty of regulating this trade led to the strictures by which England tried and generally failed to bring New England to heel, enraging Americans in the process. Ted Widmer,, "How Haiti saved America," 12 Jan. 2018 Though complex, this would keep Britain close to many economic rules and strictures of its biggest trading partner. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Brexit Nightmare: 17-Mile Traffic Jams at the Dover Border," 3 June 2018 However, critics of the JCPOA have voiced concerns that — despite these strictures — Iran could keep working toward nuclear weapons capability under the guise of pursuing peaceful goals, such as a nuclear energy program. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Fact-checking President Trump’s reasons for leaving the Iran nuclear deal," 9 May 2018 Some banks, eager to avoid the law’s strictures, simply refuse to serve Americans, visiting real inconvenience on US citizens with legitimate reasons to open accounts overseas. David Scharfenberg,, "Trillions of dollars have sloshed into offshore tax havens. Here’s how to get it back," 20 Jan. 2018 With the strictures of what, say, Comcast has on them, right? Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna on Recode Decode," 15 June 2018 If oil prices rise further, Mr Hamm’s strictures on discipline may again be ignored. The Economist, "American shale-oil producers are on a roll," 10 May 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

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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