[ streyt ]
/ streɪt /


Often straits. (used with a singular verb) a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water.
Often straits. a position of difficulty, distress, or need: Ill and penniless, he was in sad straits indeed.
Archaic. a narrow passage or area.
an isthmus.

adjective Archaic.

Origin of strait

1150–1200; Middle English streit < Old French estreit < Latin strictus past participle of stringere to bind; see strain1

Related forms

strait·ly, adverbstrait·ness, noun

Can be confused

straight strait Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for strait

British Dictionary definitions for strait


/ (streɪt) /


(often plural)
  1. a narrow channel of the sea linking two larger areas of sea
  2. (capital as part of a name)the Strait of Gibraltar
(often plural) a position of acute difficulty (often in the phrase in dire or desperate straits)
archaic a narrow place or passage

adjective archaic

(of spaces, etc) affording little room
(of circumstances, etc) limiting or difficult
severe, strict, or scrupulous

Derived Forms

straitly, adverbstraitness, noun

Word Origin for strait

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

Medicine definitions for strait


[ strāt ]


A narrow passage, such as the upper or lower opening of the pelvic canal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for strait


[ strāt ]

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.