Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: estraindre, from Latin stringere; STRINGENT


2 verb


[transitive]MI 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.


[intransitive and transitive] to try very hard to do something using all your strength or ability
strain (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.


[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.


[transitive] 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.


[intransitive] to pull hard at something or push hard against something
strain against
Buddy's huge gut strained against the buttons on his shirt.
strain at
a dog straining at its lead

strain every nerve

to try as hard as possible to do something:
He was straining every nerve to impress the judges.

be straining at the leash

to be eager to be allowed to do something:
There are 30,000 troops in the area, all straining at the leash.

not strain yourself

to not work too hard or do too much physical activity:
Don't strain yourself.

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