Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



From Middle English streit, from Anglo-Norman estreit, Old French estreit (modern form étroit), from Latin strictus, perfect passive participle of stringō (compress, tighten). Doublet of strict.



strait (comparative straiter, superlative straitest)

  1. (archaic) Narrow; restricted as to space or room; close.
    • Emerson
      too strait and low our cottage doors
    • 1866, Algernon Swinburne, Aholibah, lines 53-55
      Sweet oil was poured out on thy head
      And ran down like cool rain between
      The strait close locks it melted in.
    • 1900, Ernest Dowson, To One in Bedlam, lines 3-5
      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
    • Shakespeare
      some certain edicts and some strait decrees
    • Bible, Acts xxvi. 5 (Rev. Ver.)
      the straitest sect of our religion
  3. (obsolete) Tight; close; tight-fitting.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. (obsolete) Close; intimate; near; familiar.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      a strait degree of favour
  5. (obsolete) Difficult; distressful; straited.
    • Secker
      to make your strait circumstances yet straiter
  6. (obsolete) Parsimonious; niggardly; mean.
    • Shakespeare
      I beg cold comfort, and you are so strait, / And so ingrateful, you deny me that.

Usage notes[edit]

The adjective is often confused with straight.

Derived terms[edit]


strait (plural straits)

Sketch of a strait connecting two larger bodies of water.
Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. (geography) A narrow channel of water connecting two larger bodies of water.
    The Strait of Gibraltar
    • De Foe
      We steered directly through a large outlet which they call a strait, though it be fifteen miles broad.
  2. A narrow pass or passage.
    • Spenser
      He brought him through a darksome narrow strait / To a broad gate all built of beaten gold.
    • Shakespeare
      Honour travels in a strait so narrow / Where one but goes abreast.
  3. A neck of land; an isthmus.
    • Tennyson
      a dark strait of barren land
  4. A difficult position (often used in plural).
    to be in dire straits
    • South
      Let no man, who owns a Providence, grow desperate under any calamity or strait whatsoever.
    • Broome
      Ulysses made use of the pretense of natural infirmity to conceal the straits he was in at that time in his thoughts.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


strait (third-person singular simple present straits, present participle straiting, simple past and past participle straited)

  1. (obsolete) To put to difficulties.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)


strait (comparative more strait, superlative most strait)

  1. (obsolete) Strictly; rigorously.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)