Strain Strain, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Strained}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Straining}.] [OF. estraindre, estreindre, F. ['e]treindre, L. stringere to draw or bind tight; probably akin to Gr. ? a halter, ? that which is squeezwd out, a drop, or perhaps to E. strike. Cf. {Strangle}, {Strike}, {Constrain}, {District}, {Strait}, a. {Stress}, {Strict}, {Stringent}.] 1. To draw with force; to extend with great effort; to stretch; as, to strain a rope; to strain the shrouds of a ship; to strain the cords of a musical instrument. ``To strain his fetters with a stricter care.'' --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

2. (Mech.) To act upon, in any way, so as to cause change of form or volume, as forces on a beam to bend it. [1913 Webster]

3. To exert to the utmost; to ply vigorously. [1913 Webster]

He sweats, Strains his young nerves. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

They strain their warbling throats To welcome in the spring. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

4. To stretch beyond its proper limit; to do violence to, in the matter of intent or meaning; as, to strain the law in order to convict an accused person. [1913 Webster]

There can be no other meaning in this expression, however some may pretend to strain it. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

5. To injure by drawing, stretching, or the exertion of force; as, the gale strained the timbers of the ship. [1913 Webster]

6. To injure in the muscles or joints by causing to make too strong an effort; to harm by overexertion; to sprain; as, to strain a horse by overloading; to strain the wrist; to strain a muscle. [1913 Webster]

Prudes decayed about may track, Strain their necks with looking back. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

7. To squeeze; to press closely. [1913 Webster]

Evander with a close embrace Strained his departing friend. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

8. To make uneasy or unnatural; to produce with apparent effort; to force; to constrain. [1913 Webster]

He talks and plays with Fatima, but his mirth Is forced and strained. --Denham. [1913 Webster]

The quality of mercy is not strained. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

9. To urge with importunity; to press; as, to strain a petition or invitation. [1913 Webster]

Note, if your lady strain his entertainment. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

10. To press, or cause to pass, through a strainer, as through a screen, a cloth, or some porous substance; to purify, or separate from extraneous or solid matter, by filtration; to filter; as, to strain milk through cloth. [1913 Webster]

{To strain a point}, to make a special effort; especially, to do a degree of violence to some principle or to one's own feelings.

{To strain courtesy}, to go beyond what courtesy requires; to insist somewhat too much upon the precedence of others; -- often used ironically. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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