Share this entry

strait Syllabification: strait

Definition of strait in English:


1 (also straits) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: [in place names]: the Strait of Gibraltar
More example sentences
  • They glided over the narrow strait of turbulent ocean water that made the island look like it had been cut in half with a steak knife.
  • ‘The Northwest Passage is a strait for international navigation,’ says a State Department lawyer.
  • In purely commercial terms, passage through the strait would cut time off sailings from the west coast of North Korea.
channel, sound, inlet, stretch of water
2 (straits) Used in reference to a situation characterized by a specified degree of trouble or difficulty: the economy is in dire straits a crippling disease could leave anyone in serious financial straits
More example sentences
  • But I, like many newer Canadians, do not carry the weight of having placed them in dire straits.
  • In the 1840s, St Peter's School was in dire straits and about to close.
  • That leaves county schools in dire straits, with many already having to unravel established teaching practices.
a bad/difficult situation, difficulty, trouble, crisis, a mess, a predicament, a plight
informal hot/deep water, a jam, a hole, a bind, a fix, a scrape


archaic Back to top  
1(Of a place) of limited spatial capacity; narrow or cramped: the road was so strait that a handful of men might have defended it
More example sentences
  • First, He brought me here, it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.
  • You either enter by a strait gate onto a narrow way or you go with the crowd through the wide gate and the broad way that leadeth to destruction.
  • Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
1.1Close, strict, or rigorous: my captivity was strait as ever
More example sentences
  • The bullets sang softly in their strait prison of steel and brass.
  • Incensed with rage, he commands that his wife should be carried to strait prison until they heard further of his pleasure.


Middle English: shortening of Old French estreit 'tight, narrow', from Latin strictus 'drawn tight' (see strict).



Example sentences
  • Unfortunately, I always see the MAJORITY of people - yes, the majority of people will go straitly ahead even when there is a red light over there.
  • Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
  • He caused them to be questioned right straitly, so that their torment was very grievous.


Pronunciation: /ˈstrātnəs/
Example sentences
  • And then the life suffers under the law of sin and death; and then there is straitness and failings.
  • Such a course will ensure you experience the bitterness of spiritual straitness, as did the Corinthians.
  • My dear hearers, this very straitness of the path, this narrowness of the path, doth have in it something discouraging.

Words that rhyme with strait

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, plate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, slate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, state, straight, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait, weight

Definition of strait in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day exemplum
Pronunciation: iɡˈzempləm
an example or model...