Definitions

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

  • n. A narrow channel joining two larger bodies of water. Often used in the plural with a singular verb.
  • n. A position of difficulty, perplexity, distress, or need. Often used in the plural: in desperate straits.
  • adj. Difficult; stressful.
  • adj. Having or marked by limited funds or resources.
  • adj. Archaic Narrow.
  • adj. Archaic Affording little space or room; confined.
  • adj. Archaic Fitting tightly; constricted.
  • adj. Archaic Strict, rigid, or righteous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Narrow; restricted as to space or room; close.
  • adj. Righteous, strict.
  • n. A narrow channel of water connecting two larger bodies of water.
  • n. A difficult position (often used in plural)
  • v. To put to difficulties.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. A variant of straight.
  • adj. Narrow; not broad.
  • adj. Tight; close; closely fitting.
  • adj. Close; intimate; near; familiar.
  • adj. Strict; scrupulous; rigorous.
  • adj. Difficult; distressful; straited.
  • adj. Parsimonious; niggargly; mean.
  • adv. Strictly; rigorously.
  • n. A narrow pass or passage.
  • n. A (comparatively) narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water; -- often in the plural
  • n. A neck of land; an isthmus.
  • n. Fig.: A condition of narrowness or restriction; doubt; distress; difficulty; poverty; perplexity; -- sometimes in the plural.
  • transitive v. To put to difficulties.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Narrow; having little breadth or width.
  • Confined; restricted; limited in space or accommodation; close.
  • Of time, short; scant.
  • Tight.
  • Close.
  • Strict; careful.
  • Close-fisted; stingy; avaricious.
  • Strict; rigorous; exacting.
  • Sore; great; difficult; distressing.
  • Hard-pressed; straitened; hampered.
  • n. A narrow pass or passage.
  • n. Specifically, a narrow passage of water connecting two bodies of water: often used in the plural: as, the Strait or Straits of Gibraltar; the Straits of Magellan; the Straits of Dover. Abbreviated St.
  • n. A strip of land between two bodies of water; an isthmus.
  • n. A narrow alley in London.
  • n. A tight or narrow place; difficulty; distress; need; case of necessity: often in the plural.
  • n. plural Cloth of single width, as opposed to broad cloth: a term in use in the sixteenth century and later.
  • To make strait or narrow; narrow; straiten; contract.
  • To stretch; draw tight; tighten.
  • To press hard; put to difficulties; distress; puzzle; perplex.
  • Narrowly; tightly; closely; strictly; rigorously; strenuously; hard.
  • An old spelling of straight.
  • n. plural See cod-liver oil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. narrow
  • n. a narrow channel of the sea joining two larger bodies of water
  • n. a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs

Etymologies

Middle English streit, narrow, a strait, from Old French estreit, tight, narrow, from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere, to draw tight.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English streit, from Anglo-Norman estreit, Old French estreit (modern form étroit), from Latin strictus, perfect passive participle of stringō ("compress, tighten"). Doublet of strict. (Wiktionary)

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