Definition of


  1. (noun, phenomenon) (physics) deformation of a physical body under the action of applied forces
  2. (noun, state) difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension
    he presided over the economy during the period of the greatest stress and danger
  3. (noun, communication) a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
  4. (noun, state) (psychology) nervousness resulting from mental stress
    the mental strain of staying alert hour after hour was too much for him
  5. (noun, group) a special variety of domesticated animals within a species
    he created a new strain of sheep
  6. (noun, group) (biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups
  7. (noun, state) injury to a muscle (often caused by overuse); results in swelling and pain
  8. (noun, cognition) the general meaning or substance of an utterance
  9. (noun, act) an effortful attempt to attain a goal
  10. (noun, act) an intense or violent exertion
  11. (noun, act) the act of singing
  12. (verb, competition) to exert much effort or energy
  13. (verb, emotion) test the limits of
  14. (verb, consumption) use to the utmost; exert vigorously or to full capacity
    Don't strain your mind too much
  15. (verb, contact) separate by passing through a sieve or other straining device to separate out coarser elements
  16. (verb, body) cause to be tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious
  17. (verb, contact) become stretched or tense or taut
    the rope strained when the weight was attached
  18. (verb, contact) remove by passing through a filter
  19. (verb, contact) rub through a strainer or process in an electric blender
  20. (verb, change) alter the shape of (something) by stress

via WordNet, Princeton University

Antonyms of Strain


Origin of the word Strain

  1. "to stretch, draw tight," c.1300, from prp. stem of O.Fr. estreindre "bind tightly, clasp, squeeze," from L. stringere (2) "bind or draw tight," from PIE base *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (cf. Lith. stregti "congeal;" Gk. strangein "twist;" O.H.G. strician "mends nets;" O.E. streccian "to stretch," streng "s… more
  2. "line of descent," O.E. strion, streon "gain, begetting," from P.Gmc. *streun- "to pile up," from PIE base *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure). Applied to animal species first in 1607. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

Note: If you're looking to improve your vocabulary right now, we highly recommend Ultimate Vocabulary Software.

Word of the Moment


resinous or aromatic chiefly tropical shrubs or trees