Definition of Strain

Pronunciation: strān
n.1.Race; stock; generation; descent; family.
He is of a noble strain.
- Shak.
With animals and plants a cross between different varieties, or between individuals of the same variety but of another strain, gives vigor and fertility to the offspring.
- Darwin.
2.Hereditary character, quality, or disposition.
Intemperance and lust breed diseases, which, propogated, spoil the strain of nation.
- Tillotson.
3.Rank; a sort.
4.(Hort.) A cultural subvariety that is only slightly differentiated.
v. t.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.
[imp. & p. p. Strained ; p. pr. & vb. n. Straining.]
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.
- Shak.
They strain their warbling throats
To welcome in the spring.
- Dryden.
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.
- Swift.
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.
- Swift.
7.To squeeze; to press closely.
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.
- Denham.
The quality of mercy is not strained.
- Shak.
9.To urge with importunity; to press; as, to strain a petition or invitation.
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment.
- Shak.
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.
- Shak.
v. i.1.To make violent efforts.
To build his fortune I will strain a little.
- Shak.
2.To percolate; to be filtered; as, water straining through a sandy soil.
n.1.The act of straining, or the state of being strained.
2.A violent effort; an excessive and hurtful exertion or tension, as of the muscles; as, he lifted the weight with a strain; the strain upon a ship's rigging in a gale; also, the hurt or injury resulting; a sprain.
Whether any poet of our country since Shakespeare has exerted a greater variety of powers with less strain and less ostentation.
- Landor.
Credit is gained by custom, and seldom recovers a strain.
- Sir W. Temple.
2.(Mus.) A portion of music divided off by a double bar; a complete musical period or sentence; a movement, or any rounded subdivision of a movement.
Their heavenly harps a lower strain began.
- Dryden.
3.(Mech. Physics) A change of form or dimensions of a solid or liquid mass, produced by a stress.
3.Any sustained note or movement; a song; a distinct portion of an ode or other poem; also, the pervading note, or burden, of a song, poem, oration, book, etc.; theme; motive; manner; style; also, a course of action or conduct; as, he spoke in a noble strain; there was a strain of woe in his story; a strain of trickery appears in his career.
Such take too high a strain at first.
- Bacon.
The genius and strain of the book of Proverbs.
- Tillotson.
4.Turn; tendency; inborn disposition. Cf. 1st Strain.
Because heretics have a strain of madness, he applied her with some corporal chastisements.
- Hayward.

Related Words

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Straight arch
Straight ticket
Straight-way valve
Straining piece
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