strait /streɪt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Origin: strait 'narrow' (13-20 centuries) , from Old French estreit , from Latin strictus ; ⇨ ↑ strict ]
1 . ( also straits [plural] ) a narrow passage of water between two areas of land, usually connecting two seas:
the Bering Strait
2 . be in dire straits to be in a very difficult situation, especially a financial one:
After the war, the country’s economy was in dire straits.
The firm is now in dire financial straits.