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See also: Sträit



From Middle English streit, from Borrowing from 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
  3. (obsolete) Tight; close; tight-fitting.
  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.

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.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, III. iii. 154:
      For 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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#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.