Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

strain

 - definition
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb strain pronunciation in British English /streɪn/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theystrain
he/she/itstrains
present participlestraining
past tensestrained
past participlestrained
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to try very hard to do something
    strain to do something:

    I strained to hear what they were saying.

    strain for:

    tourists straining for a view of the tower

    strain yourself:

    I could keep up with him, without straining myself.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to make a relationship uncomfortable and not friendly

    Relations between the two nations have been strained since the war.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to injure yourself by twisting or stretching a muscle too much

    I've strained a muscle in my shoulder.

    strain your back/eyes:

    Reading in poor light can strain your eyes.

  4. 5
    [intransitive] to pull at something very hard
    strain at:

    The elephants strained at their ropes.

    1. a.
      to push against something very hard
      strain against:

      Tommy was straining against the straps of his car seat.

kabaddi

a game in which two teams of seven players take turns to chase and try to touch players on the opposing team

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Ouch!

a response to a scathing comment or unpleasant situation

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog