- to draw tight or taut, especially to the utmost tension; stretch to the full: to strain a rope.
- to exert to the utmost: to strain one's ears to catch a sound.
- to impair, injure, or weaken (a muscle, tendon, etc.) by stretching or overexertion.
- to cause mechanical deformation in (a body or structure) as the result of stress.
- to stretch beyond the proper point or limit: to strain the meaning of a word.
- to make excessive demands upon: to strain one's luck; to strain one's resources.
- to pour (liquid containing solid matter) through a filter, sieve, or the like in order to hold back the denser solid constituents: to strain gravy.
- to draw off (clear or pure liquid) by means of a filter or sieve: to strain the water from spinach; to strain broth.
- to hold back (solid particles) from liquid matter by means of a filter or sieve: to strain seeds from orange juice; to strain rice.
- to clasp tightly in the arms, the hand, etc.: The mother strained her child close to her breast.
- Obsolete. to constrain, as to a course of action.
- to pull forcibly: a dog straining at a leash.
- to stretch one's muscles, nerves, etc., to the utmost.
- to make violent physical efforts; strive hard.
- to resist forcefully; balk: to strain at accepting an unpleasant fact.
- to be subjected to tension or stress; suffer strain.
- to filter, percolate, or ooze.
- to trickle or flow: Sap strained from the bark.
- any force or pressure tending to alter shape, cause a fracture, etc.
- strong muscular or physical effort.
- great or excessive effort or striving after some goal, object, or effect.
- an injury to a muscle, tendon, etc., due to excessive tension or use; sprain.
- Mechanics, Physics. deformation of a body or structure as a result of an applied force.
- condition of being strained or stretched.
- a task, goal, or effect accomplished only with great effort: Housecleaning is a real strain.
- severe, trying, or fatiguing pressure or exertion; taxing onus: the strain of hard work.
- a severe demand on or test of resources, feelings, a person, etc.: a strain on one's hospitality.
- a flow or burst of language, eloquence, etc.: the lofty strain of Cicero.
- Often strains. a passage of melody, music, or songs as rendered or heard: the strains of the nightingale.
- Music. a section of a piece of music, more or less complete in itself.
- a passage or piece of poetry.
- the tone, style, or spirit of an utterance, writing, etc.: a humorous strain.
- a particular degree, height, or pitch attained: a strain of courageous enthusiasm.
Origin of strain1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for strain on Thesaurus.com
- the body of descendants of a common ancestor, as a family or stock.
- any of the different lines of ancestry united in a family or an individual.
- a group of plants distinguished from other plants of the variety to which it belongs by some intrinsic quality, such as a tendency to yield heavily; breed.
- an artificial variety of a species of domestic animal or cultivated plant.
- a variety, especially of microorganisms.
- ancestry or descent.
- hereditary or natural character, tendency, or trait: a strain of insanity in a family.
- a streak or trace.
- a kind or sort.
- Obsolete. procreation.
Origin of strain2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for strain on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for strain
I strain and push and pedal and wonder, “When will this end?”Biking With the Bard
December 28, 2014
However we strain to distract ourselves, our consciousness of death heightens our awareness of evil.McConaughey’s ‘Stand’—And Ours
December 5, 2014
Even before his injury, the strain had begun to tell on him.When West Point Football Turned Fatal
October 30, 2014
This point has merit, but quickly begins to strain after the application of any sort of pressure.There She Is! Deport the Miss America Pageant.
October 6, 2014
I am just so convinced that junk food and high sugar food are undermining the health of people…It caused a lot of strain.Why the Rockefellers Rejected Big Oil
September 24, 2014
Under the strain of his muscles, iron bars bent like hot wax.Way of the Lawless
Strain the liquid from the veal and bones and remove the fat.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 3
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
She was not herself, of course, what with strain and weariness.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
All trace of stress and strain had left it, replaced by an enigmatic calm.The Bacillus of Beauty
Behind the scenes, as we are now, Vivian, what use can there be in talking in that strain?Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)
- to draw or be drawn taut; stretch tight
- to exert, tax, or use (resources) to the utmost extent
- to injure or damage or be injured or damaged by overexertionhe strained himself
- to deform or be deformed as a result of a stress
- (intr) to make intense or violent efforts; strive
- to subject or be subjected to mental tension or stress
- to pour or pass (a substance) or (of a substance) to be poured or passed through a sieve, filter, or strainer
- (tr) to draw off or remove (one part of a substance or mixture from another) by or as if by filtering
- (tr) to clasp tightly; hug
- (tr) obsolete to force or constrain
- (intr foll by at)
- to push, pull, or work with violent exertion (upon)
- to strive (for)
- to balk or scruple (from)
- the act or an instance of straining
- the damage resulting from excessive exertion
- an intense physical or mental effort
- music (often plural) a theme, melody, or tune
- a great demand on the emotions, resources, etc
- a feeling of tension and tiredness resulting from overwork, worry, etc; stress
- a particular style or recurring theme in speech or writing
- physics the change in dimension of a body under load expressed as the ratio of the total deflection or change in dimension to the original unloaded dimension. It may be a ratio of lengths, areas, or volumes
- the main body of descendants from one ancestor
- a group of organisms within a species or variety, distinguished by one or more minor characteristics
- a variety of bacterium or fungus, esp one used for a culture
- a streak; trace
- archaic a kind, type, or sort
Word Origin and History for strain
"to stretch, draw tight," c.1300, from present participle stem of Old French estreindre "bind tightly, clasp, squeeze," from Latin stringere (2) "bind or draw tight," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (cf. Lithuanian stregti "congeal;" Greek strangein "twist;" Old High German strician "mends nets;" Old English streccian "to stretch," streng "string;" German stramm, Dutch stram "stiff"). Sense of "press through a filter" is from early 14c. (implied in strainer); that of "lay undue stress on, make a forced interpretation of" is from mid-15c. Related: Strained; straining.
"line of descent," Old English strion, streon "gain, begetting," from Proto-Germanic *streun- "to pile up," from PIE root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)). Applied to animal species first in c.1600.
"injury caused by straining," 1550s, from strain (v.). The meaning "passage of music" (1570s) probably developed from a verbal sense of "to tighten" the voice, originally the strings of a musical instrument (late 14c.).
- A group of organisms of the same species, sharing certain hereditary characteristics not typical of the entire species but minor enough not to warrant classification as a separate breed or variety. Resistance to specific antibiotics is a feature of certain strains of bacteria.
- The extent to which a body is distorted when it is subjected to a deforming force, as when under stress. The distortion can involve a change both in shape and in size. All measures of strain are dimensionless (they have no unit of measure).♦ Axial strain is equal to the ratio between the change in length of an object and its original length.♦ Volume strain is equal to the ratio between the change in volume of an object and its original volume. It is also called bulk strain.♦ Shear strain is equal to the ratio between the amount by which an object is skewed and its length. Compare stress. See more at Hooke's law.