see also: Strait
  • IPA: /stɹeɪt/

strait (comparative straiter, superlative straitest)

  1. (archaic) Narrow; restricted as to space or room; close.
    • 1866, Algernon Swinburne, “Aholibah” in Poems and Ballads, London: John Camden Hotten, p. 311,
      Sweet oil was poured out on thy head
      And ran down like cool rain between
      The strait close locks it melted in.
    • 1867, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “May-Day” in May-Day and Other Pieces, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, p. 15,
      Too strait and low our cottage doors,
    • 1894, Ernest Dowson, “To One in Bedlam” in The Second Book of The Rhymers’ Club, London: Elkin Mathews & John Lane, p. 35,
      Those scentless wisps of straw, that miserably line
      His strait, caged universe, whereat the dull world stares,
      Pedant and pitiful.
  2. (archaic) Righteous, strict.
    to follow the strait and narrow
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act IV, Scene 3,
      [he] takes on him to reform
      Some certain edicts and some strait decrees
      That lie too heavy on the commonwealth,
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Book of Acts 26:5,
      […] after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
  3. (obsolete) Tight; close; tight-fitting.
    • 1634, John Fletcher (playwright) and William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen, London: John Waterson, Act III, Scene 7,
      Palamon. […] Stay a little,
      Is not this peece too streight?
      Arcite. No, no, tis well.
  4. (obsolete) Close; intimate; near; familiar.
    • 1590, Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 2, Chapter 22,
      After the noble Prince Leonatus had by his fathers death succeeded in the kingdome of Galatia, he (forgetting all former iniuries) had receiued that naughtie Plexirtus into a streight degree of fauour […]
  5. (obsolete) Difficult; distressful.
    • 18th c., Thomas Secker, Sermons on Several Subjects, 2nd edition, 1771, Volume III, Sermon XI, p. 253,
      But to make your strait Circumstances yet straiter, for the Sake of idle Gratifications, and distress yourselves in Necessaries, only to indulge in Trifles and Vanities, delicate Food, shewish Dress, ensnaring Diversions, is every Way wrong.
  6. (obsolete) Parsimonious; stingy; mean.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, King John (play), Act V, Scene 7,
      […] I do not ask you much,
      I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait
      And so ingrateful, you deny me that.

strait (plural straits)

  1. (geography) A narrow channel of water connecting two larger bodies of water.
    The Strait of Gibraltar
    • 1720, Daniel Defoe, Captain Singleton, London: J. Brotherton et al., pp. 232-233,
      […] we steered directly through a large Out-let, which they call a Streight, tho’ it be fifteen Miles broad […]
  2. A narrow pass, passage or street.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 2, Canto 7, p. 282,
      He brought him through a darksom narrow strayt,
      To a broad gate all built of beaten gold:
    • c. 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene 3,
      For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
      Where one but goes abreast:
  3. A neck of land; an isthmus.
    • 1842, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Morte d’Arthur” in Poems (Tennyson, 1842), London: Edward Moxon, Volume 2, p. 4,
      The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
      Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,
      And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
      A broken chancel with a broken cross,
      That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
  4. (often, in the plural) A difficult position.
    to be in dire straits
    • 1684, Robert South, “A Sermon Preached at Westminster-Abbey” in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, London: Thomas Bennett, 1692, p. 420,
      […] let no man, who owns the Belief of a Providence, grow desperate or forlorn, under any Calamity or Strait whatsoever […]
    • 1726, Alexander Pope, The Odyssey of Homer, London, 1760, Volume 3, Commentary on v. 142 of Book 13, p. 19,
      Plutarch is of opinion that this sleep of Ulysses was feigned; and that he made use of the pretence of natural infirmity to conceal the streights he was in at that time in his thoughts […]
Translations Translations Verb

strait (straits, present participle straiting; past and past participle straited)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To confine; put to difficulties.
    • 1577, Raphael Holinshed et al., Holinshed's Chronicles, London: 1577, Volume 1, The Historie of Englande, p. 3,
      After Bardus, the Celtes […] were in short tyme, and with small labour broughte vnder the subiection of the Giaunt Albion, the sonne of Neptune, who altering the state of things here in this yland, straited the name of Celtica and the Celtes within the boundes of Gallia […]
    • c. 1610, William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV, Scene 4,
      […] If your lass
      Interpretation should abuse and call this
      Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
      For a reply […]
    • 1658, William Sanderson, A Compleat History of the Life and Raigne of Charles I of England, London: Humphrey Moseley et al., p. 885,
      The King, Duke of York, Prince Rupert and Maurice are still at Oxford closely surrounded by the Parliaments Forces, and the other not well resolving what course to take, all their Horse being about Faringdon, in expectation of the Lord Ashley with his Foot to joyn in a Body, if they be not prevented by Colonel Fleetwood and Rainsborough, straiting and allarming Oxford very often […]
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To tighten.

strait (comparative straiter, superlative straitest)

  1. (obsolete) Strictly; rigorously.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act III, Scene 2,
      Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all,
      Proceed no straiter ’gainst our uncle Gloucester
      Than from true evidence of good esteem
      He be approved in practise culpable.

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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