Meaning of STRAIN in English

I. ˈstrān noun

Etymology: Middle English streen progeny, lineage, from Old English strēon gain, acquisition; akin to Old High German gi striuni gain, Latin struere to heap up — more at strew

Date: 13th century


a. : lineage , ancestry

b. : a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions

a high-yielding strain of winter wheat

broadly : a specified infraspecific group (as a stock, line, or ecotype)

c. : kind , sort

discussions of a lofty strain


a. : inherited or inherent character, quality, or disposition

a strain of madness in the family

b. : trace , streak

a strain of fanaticism


a. : tune , air

b. : a passage of verbal or musical expression

c. : a stream or outburst of forceful or impassioned speech


a. : the tenor, pervading note, burden, or tone of an utterance or of a course of action or conduct

b. : mood , temper

II. verb

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French estreindre, from Latin stringere to bind or draw tight, press together; akin to Greek strang-, stranx drop squeezed out, strangalē halter

Date: 14th century

transitive verb


a. : to draw tight : cause to fit firmly

strain the bandage over the wound

b. : to stretch to maximum extension and tautness

strain a canvas over a frame


a. : to exert (as oneself) to the utmost

b. : to injure by overuse, misuse, or excessive pressure

strain ed his back

c. : to cause a change of form or size in (a body) by application of external force

3. : to squeeze or clasp tightly: as

a. : hug

b. : to compress painfully : constrict


a. : to cause to pass through a strainer : filter

b. : to remove by straining

strain lumps out of the gravy

5. : to stretch beyond a proper limit

that story strain s my credulity

6. obsolete : to squeeze out : extort

intransitive verb


a. : to make violent efforts : strive

has to strain to reach the high notes

b. : to pull against resistance

a dog strain ing at its leash

c. : to contract the muscles forcefully in attempting to defecate — often used in the phrase strain at stool

2. : to pass through or as if through a strainer

the liquid strain s readily

3. : to make great difficulty or resistance : balk

- strain a point

III. noun

Date: 1558

1. : an act of straining or the condition of being strained: as

a. : bodily injury from excessive tension, effort, or use

heart strain

especially : one resulting from a wrench or twist and involving undue stretching of muscles or ligaments

back strain

b. : excessive or difficult exertion or labor

c. : excessive physical or mental tension ; also : a force, influence, or factor causing such tension

a strain on the marriage

d. : deformation of a material body under the action of applied forces

2. : an unusual reach, degree, or intensity : pitch

3. archaic : a strained interpretation of something said or written

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.