- The definition of a strain is a bodily injury due to overexertion or an excessive demand on resources.
- An example of strain is a pulled muscle.
- An example of strain is reading a book in the dark, causing pressure on the eyes.
- Strain is defined as to exert or stretch to the maximum or to injure by too much exertion.
- An example of strain is for a spectator to stretch over his seat to see a concert.
- An example of strain is for a football player to pull a muscle from playing too roughly.
- to draw or stretch tight
- to exert, use, or tax to the utmost: to strain every nerve
- to overtax; injure by overexertion; wrench: to strain a muscle
- to injure or weaken by force, pressure, etc.: the wind strained the roof
- to stretch or force beyond the normal, customary, or legitimate limits: to strain a rule to one's own advantage
- to change the form or size of, by applying external force
- to pass through a screen, sieve, filter, etc.; filter
- to remove or free by filtration, etc.
- to hug or embrace: now only in strain to one's bosom (or heart, etc.)
- Obs. to force; constrain
Origin of strainMiddle English streinen from Old French estraindre, to strain, wring hard from Classical Latin stringere, to draw tight: see strict
- to make violent or continual efforts; strive hard
- to be or become strained
- to be subjected to great stress or pressure
- to pull or push with force
- to filter, ooze, or trickle
Origin of strainfrom a misunderstanding of “strain at a gnat” (Matt. 23:24) to hesitate or be unwilling; balk (at)
- a straining or being strained
- great effort, exertion, or tension
- an injury to a part of the body as a result of great effort or overexertion: muscle strain
- change in form or size, or both, resulting from stress or force
- stress or force
- a great or excessive demand on one's emotions, resources, etc.: a strain on the imagination
- a begetting
- ancestry; lineage; descent
- the descendants of a common ancestor; race; stock; line; breed; variety
- an inherited or natural characteristic or tendency
- a trace; streak
- the manner, style, or tone of a speech, book, action, etc.: to write in an angry strain
- [often pl.] a passage of music; tune; air
- a passage of poetry, esp. of a lyric sort
- a flight or outburst of eloquence, profanity, etc.
- a line of individuals of a certain species or race, differentiated from the main group by certain qualities, often, specif., superior qualities resulting from artificial breeding
Origin of strainMiddle English stren from Old English streon, gain, procreation, stock, race from base strynan, streonan, to produce: for Indo-European base see strew
verbstrained, strain·ing, strains
- a. To pull, draw, or stretch tight: The heavy load strained the rope.b. Physics To cause distortion of (a body's parts or shape) by applying an external force; deform.
- To exert, use, or tax to the utmost: straining our ears to hear.
- To injure or impair by overuse or overexertion; wrench: strain a muscle.
- To damage or weaken by pressure or tension: winds that strained the mast.
- To force beyond the proper or reasonable limit: an excuse that strains credulity.
- a. To pass (a liquid) through a filtering agent such as a strainer.b. To draw off or remove by filtration: strained the pulp from the juice.
- Archaic To embrace or clasp tightly; hug.
- a. To make strong or steady efforts; strive hard: straining to complete the coursework.b. To contract or exert one's muscles to the utmost.
- To pull or push forcibly or violently: The dog strained at its leash.
- To be or become wrenched or twisted: the flagpole straining in the wind.
- To be subjected to great stress: With such busy lives, the marriage can strain.
- To pass through a filtering agent: The muddy water strains slowly.
- a. The act of straining.b. The state of being strained: the strain on the cable.
- a. Extreme or laborious effort, exertion, or work: moved the sofa with little strain.b. A great or excessive demand or stress on one's body, mind, or resources: the strain of managing both a family and a career.c. The state of being subjected to such demands or stresses: trying to work under great strain.
- A wrench, twist, or other physical injury resulting from excessive tension, effort, or use.
- Physics Any of several kinds of deformation of the dimensions of a body when subjected to stress, as axial strain or elastic strain.
- An exceptional degree or pitch: a strain of zealous idealism.
Origin of strainMiddle English streinen from Old French estreindre estrein- to bind tightly from Latin stringere ; see streig- in Indo-European roots.
- Biology a. A group of bacteria or viruses that are genetically distinct from other groups of the same species.b. A group of cultivated plants or domestic animals of the same species that have distinctive characteristics but are not considered a separate breed or variety.
- a. The collective descendants of a common ancestor; a race, stock, line, or breed.b. Any of the various lines of ancestry united in an individual or a family; ancestry or lineage.
- A kind or sort: imaginings of a morbid strain.
- a. An inborn or inherited tendency or character: a strain of eccentricity in the family.b. An inherent quality; a streak: “his upper-caste father, placid, inactive, with a strain of asceticism” ( V.S. Naipaul )
- The tone, tenor, or substance of a verbal utterance or of a particular action or behavior: spoke in a passionate strain.
- often strains Music A passage of expression; a tune or an air: melodic strains of the violin.
- a. A passage of poetic and especially lyrical expression.b. An outburst or a flow of eloquent or impassioned language.
Origin of strainMiddle English strene from Old English strēon something gained, progeny ; see ster-2 in Indo-European roots.
- (archaic) Race; lineage, pedigree.
- Hereditary character, quality, or disposition.
- There is a strain of madness in her family.
- A tendency or disposition.
- (literary) Any sustained note or movement; a song; a distinct portion of an ode or other poem; also, the pervading note, or burden, of a song, poem, oration, book, etc.; theme; motive; manner; style
- (biology) A particular breed or race of animal, microbe etc.
- They say this year's flu virus is a particularly virulent strain.
- (music) A portion of music divided off by a double bar; a complete musical period or sentence; a movement, or any rounded subdivision of a movement.
- (rare) A kind or sort (of person etc.).
(third-person singular simple present strains, present participle straining, simple past and past participle strained)
- Evander with a close embrace / Strained his departing friend.
- To apply a force or forces to by stretching out.
- to strain a rope; to strain the shrouds of a ship
- Relations between the United States and Guatemala traditionally have been close, although at times strained by human rights and civil/military issues.
- To damage by drawing, stretching, or the exertion of force.
- The gale strained the timbers of the ship.
- To act upon, in any way, so as to cause change of form or volume, as when bending a beam.
- To exert or struggle (to do something), especially to stretch (one's senses, faculties etc.) beyond what is normal or comfortable.
- Sitting in back, I strained to hear the speaker.
- To stretch beyond its proper limit; to do violence to, in terms of intent or meaning.
- to strain the law in order to convict an accused person
- To tighten (the strings of a musical instrument); to uplift (one's voice).
- To separate solid from liquid by passing through a strainer or colander
- (intransitive) To percolate; to be filtered.
- water straining through a sandy soil
- To make uneasy or unnatural; to produce with apparent effort; to force; to constrain.
- To urge with importunity; to press.
- to strain a petition or invitation
(countable and uncountable, plural strains)
- The act of straining, or the state of being strained.
- A violent effort; an excessive and hurtful exertion or tension, as of the muscles.
- he jumped up with a strain; the strain upon the sailboat's rigging
- An injury resulting from violent effort; a sprain.
- (uncountable, engineering) A dimensionless measure of object deformation either referring to engineering strain or true strain.
Old French estreindre (whence French Ã©treindre (“to grip")), from Latin stringere (“to draw tight together, to tie").