[ streyn ]
/ streɪn /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


Origin of strain

1250–1300; Middle English streinen (v.) < Old French estrein-, stem of estreindre to press tightly, grip < Latin stringere to bind, tie, draw tight. See stringent


3 Strain, sprain imply a wrenching, twisting, and stretching of muscles and tendons. To strain is to stretch tightly, make taut, wrench, tear, cause injury to, by long-continued or sudden and too violent effort or movement: to strain one's heart by overexertion, one's eyes by reading small print. To sprain is to strain excessively (but without dislocation) by a sudden twist or wrench, the tendons and muscles connected with a joint, especially those of the ankle or wrist: to sprain an ankle.
7 filter, sieve.
10 hug, embrace, press.
17 seep.
20 exertion.
22 wrench.

Related forms

strain·ing·ly, adverbstrain·less, adjectivestrain·less·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for straining

British Dictionary definitions for straining (1 of 2)


/ (streɪn) /



Word Origin for strain

C13: from Old French estreindre to press together, from Latin stringere to bind tightly

British Dictionary definitions for straining (2 of 2)


/ (streɪn) /


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 for strain

Old English strēon; related to Old High German gistriuni gain, Latin struere to construct
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for straining


[ strān ]

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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.