AskDefine | Define strain

Dictionary Definition



1 (physics) deformation of a physical body under the action of applied forces
2 difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension; "she endured the stresses and strains of life"; "he presided over the economy during the period of the greatest stress and danger"- R.J.Samuelson [syn: stress]
3 a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence; "she was humming an air from Beethoven" [syn: tune, melody, air, melodic line, line, melodic phrase]
4 (psychology) nervousness resulting from mental stress; "his responsibilities were a constant strain"; "the mental strain of staying alert hour after hour was too much for him" [syn: mental strain, nervous strain]
5 a special variety of domesticated animals within a species; "he experimented on a particular breed of white rats"; "he created a new strain of sheep" [syn: breed, stock]
6 (biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups; "a new strain of microorganisms" [syn: form, variant, var.]
7 a lineage or race of people [syn: breed]
8 injury to a muscle (often caused by overuse); results in swelling and pain
9 pervading note of an utterance; "I could follow the general tenor of his argument" [syn: tenor]
10 an effortful attempt to attain a goal [syn: striving, nisus, pains]
11 an intense or violent exertion [syn: straining]
12 the act of singing; "with a shout and a song they marched up to the gates" [syn: song]


1 to exert much effort or energy; "straining our ears to hear" [syn: strive, reach]
2 test the limits of; "You are trying my patience!" [syn: try, stress]
3 use to the utmost; exert vigorously or to full capacity; "He really extended himself when he climbed Kilimanjaro"; "Don't strain your mind too much" [syn: extend]
4 separate by passing through a sieve or other straining device to separate out coarser elements; "sift the flour" [syn: sift, sieve]
5 make tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious; [syn: tense, tense up] [ant: relax, relax]
6 stretch or force to the limit; "strain the rope" [syn: tense]
7 remove by passing through a filter; "filter out the impurities" [syn: filter, filtrate, separate out, filter out]
8 rub through a strainer or process in an electric blender; "puree the vegetables for the baby" [syn: puree]
9 alter the shape of (something) by stress; "His body was deformed by leprosy" [syn: deform, distort]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /stɹeɪn/, /streIn/
  • Rhymes with: -eɪn

Etymology 1

etyl ang streon, gestreon, from etyl gem, from ( cognate with Latin strues


  1. Treasure.
  2. The blood-vessel in the yolk of an egg.
  3. Race; lineage, pedigree.
  4. A particular breed or race of animal, microbe etc.
    They say this year's flu virus is a particularly virulent strain.
  5. Hereditary character, quality, or disposition.
    There is a strain of madness in her family.
  6. A kind or sort (of person etc.).
Race; stock; generation; descent; family
Hereditary character, quality, or disposition
variant of living species
Rank; a sort

Etymology 2

etyl fro estreindre ( > French étreindre), from etyl la stringere.


  1. The amount by which a material deforms under stress or force, given as a ratio of the deformation to the initial dimension of the material and typically symbolised by ε is termed the engineering strain. The true strain is defined as the natural logarithm of the ratio of the final dimension to the initial dimension.


  1. To exert or struggle (to do something), especially to stretch too far.
    Sitting in back, I strained to hear the speaker.
  2. To apply a force or forces to
  3. To tighten the strings of a musical instrument; to uplift one’s voice
  4. To separate solid from liquid by passing through a strainer or colander
to stretch too far
to apply a force
to tighten the strings
to separete


Extensive Definition

Strain can refer to:


See also

strain in German: REK
strain in Italian: REK
strain in Dutch: Rek
strain in Chinese: 应变

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Spenserian stanza, abrade, affectation, affiliation, agitation, aim, air, all-overs, anacrusis, ancestry, angst, animal kingdom, animus, antistrophe, anxiety, anxiety hysteria, anxiety neurosis, anxious bench, anxious concern, anxious seat, anxiousness, apparentation, apprehension, apprehensiveness, aptitude, aria, back down, balance, balk, bark, bass passage, be determined, belie, bent, bias, bid for, birth, bleed, blemish, blench, bloat, bloating, blood, bloodline, bloody, boggle, bolt, book, bourdon, bracket, brain fag, branch, brand, break, breaking point, breed, bridge, brood, burden, burn, cadence, camouflage, cankerworm of care, canto, cantus, care, cast, caste, category, chafe, character, check, chill, chilliness, chip, chorus, clan, clarify, class, claw, clear, coda, coldness, color, command of language, common ancestry, community, complexion, concern, concernment, consanguinity, constitution, contend for, continue, coolness, couplet, crack, crane, craze, culture, cut, damage, debate, debilitation, debility, decrassify, deliberate, demand, deme, demur, denomination, depurate, derivation, descant, descendants, descent, description, designation, determination, development, diathesis, direct line, disaffinity, discharge, disguise, disposition, disquiet, disquietude, distaff side, distension, distich, distill, distort, distress, disturbance, division, draft, drag, drag out, drain, draw, draw off, draw out, dread, dress up, drift, drive, eccentricity, edulcorate, effort, effuse, elongate, elongation, elute, embellish, embroider, emit, endeavor, enervation, enfeeblement, enmity, envoi, epode, essentialize, estate, ethnic group, evidence, exaggeration, exceed, excrete, exertion, exfiltrate, exposition, expression of ideas, extend, extension, extract, extraction, extravasate, extreme tension, exudate, exude, eyestrain, faintness, falsify, falter, family, fashion, fatigue, fear, feather, feeling for words, female line, fight shy of, figure, filiation, filter, filtrate, flinch, folderol, folk, force, foreboding, forebodingness, form, form of speech, fracture, fray, frazzle, fret, frost, fudge, gag, gall, garble, gash, genre, gens, genus, gild, give off, gloss, gloss over, goneness, grace of expression, grade, grain, grandiloquence, group, grouping, hang back, hang off, harass, harm, harmonic close, haul, have qualms, head, heading, heart strain, heave, hem and haw, heptastich, heritage, hesitate, hexastich, hint, hold off, house, hover, hum and haw, humor, hurt, iciness, idiosyncrasy, ilk, impair, impression, incise, inclination, incompatibility, incompatibleness, indication, individualism, inflate, inflation, inhospitality, inimicality, injure, injury, inquietude, interlude, intermezzo, introductory phrase, irk, jadedness, jib, kidney, kin, kind, label, labor, lacerate, languor, lassitude, lay, leach, leaning, lengthen, lengthen out, lengthening, let out, level, line, line of descent, lineage, literary style, lixiviate, lot, lug, maim, make, make an effort, make bones about, make mincemeat of, makeup, malaise, male line, manner, manner of speaking, mannerism, mark, mask, matriclan, maul, measure, melodia, melodic line, melody, mental fatigue, mental set, mental strain, mettle, mind, mind-set, miscite, miscolor, misconstrue, misdirect, misgiving, misinterpret, misquote, misrender, misreport, misrepresent, misstate, misuse, mode, mode of expression, moil, mold, monostich, mood, movement, music, musical phrase, musical sentence, mutilate, nation, nationality, nature, nervous strain, nervous tension, nervousness, note, number, obligation, octastich, octave, octet, ooze, order, ornament, ottava rima, overanxiety, overburden, overcarrying, overdevelop, overdistend, overdistension, overdoing, overdraw, overdrawing, overemphasis, overexercise, overexert, overexertion, overexpand, overexpansion, overexpenditure, overextend, overextension, overimportance, overreaching, overreaction, overstate, overstrain, overstraining, overstress, overstretch, overstretching, overtax, overtaxing, overtiredness, overuse, overwork, pain, parentage, part, passage, patriclan, pause, peculiarity, pedigree, pentastich, people, percolate, period, personal conflict, personal style, persuasion, perturbation, pervert, phrase, phratry, phylum, pierce, pigeonhole, pins and needles, plant kingdom, ponder, position, predicament, predilection, predisposition, preference, press, pressure, proclivity, produce, production, prolong, prolongate, prolongation, propensity, protract, protraction, pucker, pull, pull back, pull for, puncture, purify, push, quail, quality, quatrain, race, rack, rank, rating, recoil, rectify, reek, refine, refrain, rend, resolution, resolve, response, retreat, rhetoric, rhyme royal, rip, ritornello, roots, rubric, run, rupture, savage, scald, scorch, scotch, scrape, scratch, screen, scruple, scuff, section, seed, seek, seep, sense of language, separate, sept, septet, sestet, set, sew, sextet, shape, shilly-shally, shrink, shy, shy at, side, sieve, sift, sign, skin, slant, slash, sleepiness, slit, snapping point, society, solicitude, solo, solo part, song, soprano part, sort, sound, soupcon, spear side, species, speech community, spin out, spindle side, spirit, spiritualize, sprain, stab, stamp, stance fatigue, stanza, statement, station, status, stave, stem, stew, stick, stick at, stickle, stirps, stock, stop to consider, straddle the fence, strain at, strain every nerve, strain for, straining, strains, stratum, streak, stress, stress and strain, stressfulness, stretch, stretch out, stretching, string out, stringing out, stripe, strive, strive for, striving, strophe, struggle, struggle for, study, stumble, style, stylistic analysis, stylistics, subdivision, subgroup, sublimate, sublime, suborder, succession, suggestion, supererogation, surpass, suspense, suspicion, sweat, sweat blood, swell, swelling, sword side, syllable, tailpiece, tauten, tautness, tax, taxing, tear, temper, temperament, tendency, tenor, tense, tenseness, tension, tercet, terza rima, tetrastich, the grand style, the like of, the likes of, the plain style, the sublime, theme, think twice about, thread, tighten, tiredness, titivate, title, toil, tone, torture, totem, trace, trait, transpire, transude, traumatize, treble, tribe, trick, trick out, triplet, tristich, trouble, try, try for, try hard, tug, tune, turn, turn of mind, tutti, tutti passage, twist, type, unamiability, uncordiality, understate, uneasiness, unfriendliness, ungeniality, unquietness, unsociability, upset, variation, variety, varnish, vein, verse, vestige, vexation, warp, waver, way, weakness, wearifulness, weariness, weep, whitewash, wince, winnow, withdraw, work, worry, wound, wrench, yield, zeal
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