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

  • adj. Having been passed through a strainer: a bowl of strained peaches.
  • adj. Done with or marked by excessive effort; forced: strained humor.
  • adj. Extended beyond proper limits: a strained meaning.
  • adj. Antagonized to the verge of open conflict: strained relations.
  • adj. Twisted; wrenched: a strained ankle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Forced through a strainer.
  • adj. Under tension; tense.
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of strain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Subjected to great or excessive tension; wrenched; weakened.
  • adj. Done or produced with straining or excessive effort.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Forced; carried beyond proper limits: as, a strained interpretation of a law.
  • Of this or that strain or breed, as an animal.

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

  • adj. lacking spontaneity; not natural
  • adj. showing signs of mental and emotional tension
  • adj. lacking natural ease
  • adj. struggling for effect


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • His dark hair was matted with sweat, his expression strained and empty, the expression of release.

    Strangers In the Night

  • Finally she turned to him, with her lovely face wan, her expression strained.

    Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark: The Clan MacRieve

  • “Right,” Brianna says, and Ryan pulls away from her, his expression strained, still not looking at me as he mutters, “I gotta go,” and walks off.

    The Unwritten Rule

  • LOTHIAN: Last month, President Obama used a video to speak directly to the Iranian people about improving what he called a strained relationship.

    CNN Transcript Apr 8, 2009

  • For example, you said that the muscle strain -- that a muscle strain, which you called a strained glut (ph), could have led to the problem.

    CNN Transcript Feb 13, 2008

  • Yes, him I know; he speak good French, and take the door down from the _fare_ on which is the picture done by Gauguin of the lady whose legs are like thin pillows and her arms like fat ropes, very what you call strained, and funny. '

    When Winter Comes to Main Street

  • The necessity of the case demands what you call a strained ideal.

    The Odd Women

  • Katie tugged at Mark’s sleeve, her expression strained and pale.

    The Flower Man

  • The preponderance of contrived situations the characters found themselves in strained believability.

    More Star Trek Thoughts

  • Redskins running back Ryan Torain strained his left hamstring on the final play of the first half of Sunday's 37-25 loss to Detroit, an injury that left Keiland Williams not only as the featured back in the second half, but as the only healthy back active for the game.

    Keiland Williams picks up load for injured Torain


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