strainstrain2 ●●○ verb 🔊 🔊 1 injure [transitive]MIINJURE to injure a muscle or part of your body by using it too much or making it work too hard 🔊 I’ve strained a muscle in my leg. 🔊 You’ll strain your eyes trying to read in this light.► see thesaurus at hurt2 effort [intransitive, transitive]TRY TO DO OR GET something to try very hard to do something using all your strength or abilitystrain (something) to do something 🔊 She was straining to keep her head above the water.strain for 🔊 Bill choked and gasped, straining for air.strain your ears/eyes (=try very hard to hear or see) 🔊 I strained my ears, listening for any sound in the silence of the cave.3 liquid [transitive]DFC to separate solid things from a liquid by pouring the mixture through something with very small holes in it → sieve 🔊 She strained the pasta.4 difficulty [transitive]FORCE somebody TO DO something to cause difficulties for something by making too much work or too many problems which it cannot deal with easily 🔊 The increased costs will certainly strain our finances. 🔊 The incident has strained relations between the two countries. 🔊 I felt that my patience was being strained to the limit.5 pull/push [intransitive]PUSHPULL to pull hard at something or push hard against somethingstrain against 🔊 Buddy’s huge gut strained against the buttons on his shirt.strain at 🔊 a dog straining at its lead6 → strain every nerve7 → be straining at the leash8 → not strain yourself→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusstrain• Sometimes he strained his head up towards the ceiling and his mouth moved as if he were trying to shout orders.• James strained his right knee playing football.• Righthander Robert Person was scheduled to start, but a strained left hamstring sustained over the weekend could delay his spring debut.• She carries a small but distinct belly, which is straining the red material of the skirt.• Strain the sauce through a sieve.• Repairs to the roof have severely strained the school's budget.• His frightened eyes widened, straining to live.strain your ears/eyes• He stood tensed, straining his ears.• She spoke softly, directing her remarks exclusively at Karelius and Moreau, so that the others were obliged to strain their ears.• She strained her ears but could hear nothing.• Don't strain your eyes by putting up with poor lighting.• We crowded round the table, straining our ears for the magic sounds, while Robert adjusted the cat's whisker.• She strained her eyes, searching, but today she could not persuade herself that there were any seals out there.• As we talked, we stopped once in a while and strained our ears to hear.• I strained my eyes to see their faces, my ears to catch their whispered voices.strain against• Spectators strained against the barriers to get a closer look.