May 18, 2021
Learner's Word of the Day
strain /ˈstreɪn/ verb

strains; strained; straining

The woman is straining to open the jar.
The woman is straining to open the jar.
Learner's definition of STRAIN

1 [+ object] : to injure (a body part or muscle) by too much tension, use, or effort

  • I strained my back trying to lift the couch.

  • Too much computer work strains the eyes.

  • He strained a muscle in his leg.

2 : to try very hard to do or get something

[no object] — often + for

  • He was straining for air. [=he was struggling to breathe]

— often followed by to + verb

  • He strained to open the jar.

  • She strained to sing the high notes.

  • The people in the back of the room strained to hear the speaker.

[+ object]

  • I strained my ears to hear [=I tried very hard to hear] what they were whispering.

  • I strained my eyes [=I tried very hard to see] in the darkness.

3 a : to be pulled or stretched in a forceful way

[no object]

  • His muscles strained under the heavy weight.

[+ object]

  • People were straining their necks [=were lifting their heads as high as they could by stretching their necks] to see the fight.

— sometimes used figuratively

  • You are straining (the limits of) my patience with your nagging.

b [no object] : to pull hard on or push hard against something — + at or against

  • The dog strained at its leash.

  • His belly strained against the buttons of the shirt.

— sometimes used figuratively

  • The kids were straining at the leash to get going. [=were very eager to get going]

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