from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To pull, draw, or stretch tight.
  • intransitive verb Physics To cause distortion of (a body's parts or shape) by applying an external force; deform.
  • intransitive verb To exert, use, or tax to the utmost.
  • intransitive verb To injure or impair by overuse or overexertion; wrench.
  • intransitive verb To damage or weaken by pressure or tension.
  • intransitive verb To force beyond the proper or reasonable limit.
  • intransitive verb To pass (a liquid) through a filtering agent such as a strainer.
  • intransitive verb To draw off or remove by filtration.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To embrace or clasp tightly; hug.
  • intransitive verb To make strong or steady efforts; strive hard.
  • intransitive verb To contract or exert one's muscles to the utmost.
  • intransitive verb To pull or push forcibly or violently.
  • intransitive verb To be or become wrenched or twisted.
  • intransitive verb To be subjected to great stress.
  • intransitive verb To pass through a filtering agent.
  • noun The act of straining.
  • noun The state of being strained.
  • noun Extreme or laborious effort, exertion, or work.
  • noun A great or excessive demand or stress on one's body, mind, or resources.
  • noun The state of being subjected to such demands or stresses.
  • noun A wrench, twist, or other physical injury resulting from excessive tension, effort, or use.
  • noun Physics Any of several kinds of deformation of the dimensions of a body when subjected to stress, as axial strain or elastic strain.
  • noun An exceptional degree or pitch.
  • idiom (strain at stool) To have difficulty defecating.
  • noun A group of bacteria or viruses that are genetically distinct from other groups of the same species.
  • noun A group of cultivated plants or domestic animals of the same species that have distinctive characteristics but are not considered a separate breed or variety.
  • noun The collective descendants of a common ancestor; a race, stock, line, or breed.
  • noun Any of the various lines of ancestry united in an individual or a family; ancestry or lineage.
  • noun A kind or sort.
  • noun An inborn or inherited tendency or character.
  • noun An inherent quality; a streak.
  • noun The tone, tenor, or substance of a verbal utterance or of a particular action or behavior.
  • noun Music A passage of expression; a tune or an air.
  • noun A passage of poetic and especially lyrical expression.
  • noun An outburst or a flow of eloquent or impassioned language.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To distrain.
  • noun Stretch; extent; pitch.
  • noun Stretching or deforming force or pressure; violence.
  • noun Tense or constrained state or condition; tension; great effort.
  • noun In mech., a definite change in the shape or size of a solid body setting up an elastic resistance, or stress, or exceeding the limit of elasticity.
  • noun A stretching of the muscles or tendons, giving rise to subsequent pain and stiffness; sprain; wrench; twist.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English streinen, from Old French estreindre, estrein-, to bind tightly, from Latin stringere; see streig- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English strene, from Old English strēon, something gained, progeny; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English strēon, ġestrēon, from Germanic, from Proto-Indo-European *streu ( cognate with Latin strues ("heap"))

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French estreindre ( > French étreindre ("to grip")), from Latin stringere ("to draw tight together, to tie").


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  • c950 Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. vi. 21 Edher is strion edhin Vulg. ubi est thesaurus tuus.

    May 6, 2008

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    June 19, 2011

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    June 12, 2021