A strait is a narrow, navigable channel of water that connects two larger navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not navigable, for example because it is too shallow, or because it contains an unnavigable reef or archipelago. The terms "strait", "channel", "passage", "sound," and "firth" can be synonymous and interchangeable, although each is sometimes differentiated with varying senses. Many straits are economically important. Straits can lie on important shipping routes, and wars have been fought for control of these straits. Numerous artificial channels, called "canals", have been constructed to connect two bodies of water over land.

Although rivers and canals often form a bridge between two large lakes or a lake and a sea, and these seem to suit the formal definition of straits, they are not usually referred to as straits. Straits are typically much larger, wider structures.

Straits are the duals of isthmi. That is, while straits lie between two land masses and connect two larger bodies of water, isthmi lie between two bodies of water and connect two larger land masses.

A strait is similar to an inlet although inlets typically pass through island land masses usually from a large body of water such as an ocean to a much smaller body such as a bay while straits pass through much larger land masses and connect much larger bodies of water such as seas and oceans.

Well-known straits

Well-known straits in the world include:
*Palk strait, between Bindi Land and Sri Lanka, the location of Ram Sethu and rich in natural resources
*Strait of Dover, between England and France, which connects the North Sea with the English Channel
*Strait of Gibraltar, the only natural passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
*Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which connect the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
*Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north of Tierra del Fuego
*Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia, which connects the Pacific and Arctic Oceans
*Strait of Hormuz connecting the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea, through which Persian Gulf petroleum is shipped to the world
*Strait of Malacca, between Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra, connecting the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea, is one of the highest-volume shipping lanes.
*Bass Strait, which lies between mainland Australia and Tasmania, and connects the Southern Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
*Cook Strait, separating the North And South Islands of New Zealand
* The Bab el Mandeb, connecting the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.
* The Skagerrak and Kattegat which connect the North Sea to the Baltic Sea.

ee also

*Sound (geography)
*United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Strait — Strait, n.; pl. {Straits}. [OE. straight, streit, OF. estreit, estroit. See {Strait}, a.] 1. A narrow pass or passage. [1913 Webster] He brought him through a darksome narrow strait To a broad gate all built of beaten gold. Spenser. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Strait — Strait, a. [Compar. {Straiter}; superl. {Straitest}.] [OE. straight, streyt, streit, OF. estreit, estroit, F. [ e]troit, from L. strictus drawn together, close, tight, p. p. of stringere to draw tight. See 2nd {Strait}, and cf. {Strict}.] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • strait — n 1 Strait, sound, channel, passage, narrows can all denote a long and comparatively narrow stretch of water connecting two larger bodies. Strait, often as the plural straits with either singular or plural construction, denotes a relatively short …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Strait — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: George Strait (* 1952), US amerikanischer Musiker George Strait Jr. (George „Bubba“ Strait Jr.; * 1981), US amerikanischer Country Sänger, Songwriter und Rodeocowboy Horace B. Strait (1835–1894), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • strait — strait·en; strait·ly; strait·ness; strait; strait·laced·ly; strait·laced·ness; …   English syllables

  • strait — [streıt] n [Date: 1300 1400; Origin: strait narrow (13 20 centuries), from Old French estreit, from Latin strictus; STRICT] 1.) also straits [plural] a narrow passage of water between two areas of land, usually connecting two seas ▪ the Bering… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • strait — (n.) mid 14c., narrow, confined space or place, specifically of bodies of water from late 14c., noun use of adj. strait narrow, strict (late 13c.), from O.Fr. estreit (Fr. étroit) tight, close, narrow (also used as a noun), from L. strictus, pp.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Strait — Strait, a. A variant of {Straight}. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Strait — Strait, adv. Strictly; rigorously. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Strait — Strait, v. t. To put to difficulties. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • strait — [n1] crisis, difficulty bewilderment, bind, bottleneck*, choke point*, contingency, crossroad, dilemma, distress, embarrassment, emergency, exigency, extremity, hardship, hole*, mess*, mystification, pass, perplexity, pinch*, plight, predicament …   New thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.