- of little breadth or width; not broad or wide; not as wide as usual or expected: a narrow path.
- limited in extent or space; affording little room: narrow quarters.
- limited in range or scope: a narrow sampling of public opinion.
- lacking breadth of view or sympathy, as persons, the mind, or ideas: a narrow man, knowing only his professional specialty; a narrow mind.
- with little margin to spare; barely adequate or successful; close: a narrow escape.
- careful, thorough, or minute, as a scrutiny, search, or inquiry.
- limited in amount; small; meager: narrow resources.
- straitened; impoverished: narrow circumstances.
- New England. stingy or parsimonious.
- (of a vowel) articulated with the tongue laterally constricted, as the ee of beet, the oo of boot, etc.; tense.Compare lax(def 7).
- (of a phonetic transcription) utilizing a unique symbol for each phoneme and whatever supplementary diacritics are needed to indicate its subphonemic varieties.Compare broad(def 14).
- (of livestock feeds) proportionately rich in protein.
- to decrease in width or breadth: This is where the road narrows.
- to make narrower.
- to limit or restrict (often followed by down): to narrow an area of search; to narrow down a contest to three competitors.
- to make narrow-minded: Living in that village has narrowed him.
- a narrow part, place, or thing.
- a narrow part of a valley, passage, or road.
- narrows, (used with a singular or plural verb) a narrow part of a strait, river, ocean current, etc.
- The Narrows, a narrow strait from upper to lower New York Bay, between Staten Island and Long Island. 2 miles (3.2 km) long; 1 mile (1.6 km) wide.
Origin of narrow
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for narrowing
The village sits along a narrowing vein of the Rio Negro, a tributary of the mighty Amazon.Bye Bye Latté, Hello Guayusa: Why The Amazon Holds the Secret to a Cleaner, Healthier Caffeine
August 29, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 295 people aboard crashed and suspicion is narrowing on pro-Russian separatists.Latest News on Malaysian Airliner Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine
The Daily Beast
July 17, 2014
Perhaps most importantly, normalizing marriage is a narrowing, rather than an expanding, of sexual possibility.Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?
May 27, 2014
Even show ponies are not exempt from ending up in a narrowing chute that feeds the condemned in single file into the “stun box.”Central Park’s Carriages Saved This Horse
April 24, 2014
We avoid harming innocent civilians not by narrowing our focus to the most dangerous among them.Introducing Tzipi Livni to the Occupation
October 1, 2013
As they walked single-file through the narrowing of a drift, she wondered about him.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
There is no minister here 'trammelled by long years of narrowing education.'Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Then, suddenly, I became aware that the path of light ahead of us was narrowing.Priestess of the Flame
Sewell Peaslee Wright
Garnache's eyes, narrowing slightly, followed her, like points of steel.
He studied her in silence a moment, with narrowing eyes and tightening lips.
- small in breadth, esp in comparison to length
- limited in range or extent
- limited in outlook; lacking breadth of vision
- limited in means or resources; meagrenarrow resources
- barely adequate or successful (esp in the phrase a narrow escape)
- painstakingly thorough; minutea narrow scrutiny
- finance denoting an assessment of liquidity as including notes and coin in circulation with the public, banks' till money, and banks' balancesnarrow money Compare broad (def. 14)
- dialect overcareful with money; parsimonious
- (of agricultural feeds) especially rich in protein
- narrow squeak informal an escape only just managed
- to make or become narrow; limit; restrict
- a narrow place, esp a pass or strait
Word Origin and History for narrowing
Old English nearu "narrow, constricted, limited; petty; causing difficulty, oppressive; strict, severe," from West Germanic *narwaz "narrowness" (cf. Frisian nar, Old Saxon naru, Middle Dutch nare, Dutch naar); not found in other Germanic languages and of unknown origin. The narrow seas (c.1400) were the waters between Great Britain and the continent and Ireland. Related: Narrowness.
Old English nearwian "to force in, cramp, confine; become smaller, shrink;" see narrow (adj.). Related: Narrowed; narrowing.
c.1200, nearewe "narrow part, place, or thing," from narrow (adj.). Old English nearu (n.) meant "danger, distress, difficulty," also "prison, hiding place."