Origin of straw
Related Words for draw strawslot
- stalks of threshed grain, esp of wheat, rye, oats, or barley, used in plaiting hats, baskets, etc, or as fodder
- (as modifier)a straw hat
- a pale yellow colour
- (as adjective)straw hair
Word Origin for straw
Old English streaw "stems or stalks of certain cereals," literally "that which is scattered or strewn," related to streowian (see strew), from Proto-Germanic *strawam "that which is scattered" (cf. Old Norse stra, Danish straa, Swedish strå, Old Frisian stre, Old Dutch, Old High German stro, German Stroh "straw"), from PIE *stere- "to spread" (see structure (n.)). The notion is of dried grain stalks strewn on a floor as carpeting or bedding. As a type of what is trifling or unimportant, attested from late 13c. Meaning "hollow tube through which a drink is sucked" is recorded from 1851.
To draw straws as a means of deciding something is recorded from 1832. The last straw is from the proverb of the camel. Straw poll is from 1932; earlier straw vote (1866). Straw hat first attested mid-15c. To clutch (or grasp or catch) at straws (1748) is what a drowning man proverbially would do.
Also, draw lots. Decide by a lottery using straws of different lengths. For example, Let's draw straws to see who will write the first draft. The lots version dates from the 1400s, whereas straws dates from the 1800s. Both have replaced the still older draw cuts. Another variant is draw the short straw, meaning to be the one so selected for a particular task.
In addition to the idioms beginning with straw
- straw boss
- straw in the wind
- straw that breaks the camel's back
- straw vote
- draw straws
- grasp at straws
- last straw
- make bricks without straw
- not worth a dime (straw)