[ streyt ]
See synonyms for: straitstraiterstraiteststraits on

  1. Often straits. (used with a singular verb) a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water.

  2. Often straits. a position of difficulty, distress, or need: Ill and penniless, he was in sad straits indeed.

  1. Archaic. a narrow passage or area.

  2. an isthmus.

  1. narrow: Strait is the gate.

  2. affording little space; confined in area.

  1. strict, as in requirements or principles.

Origin of strait

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English streit “narrow, a strait,” from Old French estreit “narrow, tight,” from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere “to tighten, bind”; see strain1

synonym study For strait

2. See emergency.

Other words for strait

Opposites for strait

Other words from strait

  • straitly, adverb
  • straitness, noun

Words that may be confused with strait

Words Nearby strait Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use strait in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for strait


/ (streɪt) /

  1. (often plural)

    • a narrow channel of the sea linking two larger areas of sea

    • (capital as part of a name): the Strait of Gibraltar

  2. (often plural) a position of acute difficulty (often in the phrase in dire or desperate straits)

  1. archaic a narrow place or passage

  1. (of spaces, etc) affording little room

  2. (of circumstances, etc) limiting or difficult

  1. severe, strict, or scrupulous

Origin of strait

C13: from Old French estreit narrow, from Latin strictus constricted, from stringere to bind tightly

Derived forms of strait

  • straitly, adverb
  • straitness, noun

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

Scientific definitions for strait


[ strāt ]

  1. A narrow waterway joining two larger bodies of water. The Strait of Gibraltar, for example, connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.

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