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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Strain \Strain\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Strained; p. pr. & vb. n. Straining.] [OF. estraindre, estreindre, F. ['e]treindre, L. stringere to draw or bind tight; probably akin to Gr. ? a halter, ? that which is squeezwd out, a drop, or perhaps to E. strike. Cf. Strangle, Strike, Constrain, District, Strait, a. Stress, Strict, Stringent.]

  1. To draw with force; to extend with great effort; to stretch; as, to strain a rope; to strain the shrouds of a ship; to strain the cords of a musical instrument. ``To strain his fetters with a stricter care.''

  2. (Mech.) To act upon, in any way, so as to cause change of form or volume, as forces on a beam to bend it.

  3. To exert to the utmost; to ply vigorously.

    He sweats, Strains his young nerves.

    They strain their warbling throats To welcome in the spring.

  4. To stretch beyond its proper limit; to do violence to, in the matter of intent or meaning; as, to strain the law in order to convict an accused person.

    There can be no other meaning in this expression, however some may pretend to strain it.

  5. To injure by drawing, stretching, or the exertion of force; as, the gale strained the timbers of the ship.

  6. To injure in the muscles or joints by causing to make too strong an effort; to harm by overexertion; to sprain; as, to strain a horse by overloading; to strain the wrist; to strain a muscle.

    Prudes decayed about may track, Strain their necks with looking back.

  7. To squeeze; to press closely.

    Evander with a close embrace Strained his departing friend.

  8. To make uneasy or unnatural; to produce with apparent effort; to force; to constrain.

    He talks and plays with Fatima, but his mirth Is forced and strained.

    The quality of mercy is not strained.

  9. To urge with importunity; to press; as, to strain a petition or invitation.

    Note, if your lady strain his entertainment.

  10. To press, or cause to pass, through a strainer, as through a screen, a cloth, or some porous substance; to purify, or separate from extraneous or solid matter, by filtration; to filter; as, to strain milk through cloth.

    To strain a point, to make a special effort; especially, to do a degree of violence to some principle or to one's own feelings.

    To strain courtesy, to go beyond what courtesy requires; to insist somewhat too much upon the precedence of others; -- often used ironically.


Straining \Strain"ing\, a. & n. from Strain.

Straining piece (Arch.), a short piece of timber in a truss, used to maintain the ends of struts or rafters, and keep them from slipping. See Illust. of Queen-post.


n. The act by which one strains. vb. (present participle of strain English)

  1. adj. taxing to the utmost; testing powers of endurance; "his final, straining burst of speed"; "a strenuous task"; "your willingness after these six arduous days to remain here"- F.D.Roosevelt [syn: arduous, strenuous]

  2. n. an intense or violent exertion [syn: strain]

  3. the act of distorting something so it seems to mean something it was not intended to mean [syn: distortion, overrefinement, torture, twisting]

Usage examples of "straining".

It was a scene from a vision of Fuseli, and over all the rest reigned that riot of luminous amorphousness, that alien and undimensioned rainbow of cryptic poison from the well--seething, feeling, lapping, reaching, scintillating, straining, and malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognizable chromaticism.

The boughs were all straining skyward, tipped with tongues of foul flame, and lambent tricklings of the same monstrous fire were creeping about the ridgepoles of the house, barn and sheds.

There I lay, trying to stretch a frame bent and mangled, for an indefinite period, and straining my eyes to catch a glimpse of some ray of light which would give a hint as to my position.

Turn as I might, in no direction could my straining vision seize on any object capable of serving as a guidepost to set me on the outward path.

Several men at once prepared to scatter in quest of a suitable craft, while others came to supplant the captain at the straining rope, since his place was logically with whatever boat party might be formed.

The corpse was gaining on its pursuers, and seemed bent on a definite object, straining with every rotting muscle toward the carved golden pedestal, whose necromantic importance was evidently so great.

I also rose, and both of us stood motionless for a time, straining our ears as the uncanny rhythm seemed more and more to take on a vital quality.

While Germany was straining every nerve to multiply her U-boats, active co-operation by the United States was becoming a reality.

Ayla was straining to recall everything Jondalar had told her about their language.

He could slow down if he saw the youngster straining too hard, and blame his advanced age.

Ayla took a deep, painful breath, straining to repress the cry that wanted expression.

He closed his eyes and felt the tremendous power of the muscles bunching and straining beneath him, and a sense of magical wonder washed over him, as though for the first time in his life, he was sharing in the wonder and creation of the Great Earth Mother Herself.

His eyes closed, and at first he stood still, but soon he was trembling, as though straining against a great force.

Everyone was sitting up straight, straining forward, chanting with a wailing intensity, and the tension within the lodge was almost unbearable.

I stood up at last, too slippery now for them to hold me in place, though they tried, then walked around and over the straining bodies into the pink room visible through the far doorway.