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strain - definition and synonyms

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verb     strain pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
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. 4
    [transitive] to separate a solid from a liquid by pouring it into a strainer
    Synonyms and related words
  5. 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.

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