Definition of straw in English:


Syllabification: straw
Pronunciation: /strô


1Dried stalks of grain, used especially as fodder or as material for thatching, packing, or weaving: [as modifier]: a straw hat
More example sentences
  • This unique facility will be constructed with natural materials - plastered straw bale walls with a turf roof.
  • The directive does require farmers to supply pigs with rooting materials such as straw, hay, wood, sawdust, compost or peat.
  • I am afraid I do not follow the reasoning as wheat straw thatch has been a common roof covering for hundreds of years.
1.1A pale yellow color like that of straw: [as modifier]: a dull straw color
More example sentences
  • Leaving Graham to paint a rather pleasant pale straw yellow on the guestroom walls I went off for my weekend provisioning shop.
  • In the glass it is pale straw yellow; on the nose it is softly floral.
  • With the first frost in the fall, it goes dormant and changes from green in color to a straw or pale yellow-brown.
2A single dried stalk of grain: the tramp sat chewing a straw
More example sentences
  • To tickle a horse's belly with a straw (the childhood memory), she had to select a single straw.
  • She stares at him and he looks at her and she asks, ‘Why are you chewing a straw?’
  • ‘Of course,’ Mike replied between chews on a straw held carelessly between his teeth.
2.1A stalk of grain or something similar used in drawing lots: we had to draw straws for the food we had
More example sentences
  • A group of men would draw straws to select two of their number.
  • I will draw straws to determine who will answer which of the questions.
3A thin hollow tube of paper or plastic for sucking drink from a glass or bottle.
More example sentences
  • She was straddled across a terrified studenty looking lad who was drinking from a straw in the bottle.
  • They are then asked to blow through a straw into a glass tube with a screw cap lid.
  • To keep the stems standing straight, slip them into clear plastic drinking straws or vinyl tubing.


Old English strēaw, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stroo and German Stroh, also to strew.


grasp (or clutch or catch) at straws (or a straw)

Be in such a desperate situation as to resort to even the most unlikely means of salvation.
[from the proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw]
More example sentences
  • His dreams are wrong-headed and he clutches at straws, missing the salvation that's offered him.
  • This is a case of desperate men clutching at straws.
  • When interventionists resort to that kind of argument, they are grasping at straws.

draw the short straw

Be the unluckiest of a group of people, especially in being chosen to perform an unpleasant task.
More example sentences
  • He drew the short straw when we ran out of room in the shelter).
  • The captain's 17-year-old cousin drew the short straw.
  • Limerick drew the short straw, now having to travel to Glasnevin to play a St Vincent's side that has been improving by leaps and bounds in recent weeks.

the last (or final) straw

A further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a whole series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable: his affair was the last straw
[from the proverb the last straw breaks the (laden) camel's back]
More example sentences
  • But the recent incident, just two doors up from her house, involving a truck driver who has since admitted being over the drink drive limit, was the final straw.
  • The problem of the compensation payment, coupled with difficulties in keeping up with Inland Revenue repayments, proved the final straw for the club.
  • Shops and vehicles have been targeted in the latest series of attacks in Kew and it has proved the final straw for local people.

a straw in the wind

A slight hint of future developments.
More example sentences
  • It is a snapshot, a straw in the wind and should only be regarded as an unscientific measure.
  • This nastiness is just a straw in the wind, a small beginning.
  • The Senate's refusal last year to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty may have been a straw in the wind.



More example sentences
  • We passed through a narrow gate, left open, and saw an empty cattle shed, and next to it a circular pig sty, with a few great swine rooting through the strawy mud.
  • But every year, for the next 15, I hauled many loads of strawy manure out there and worked it in.
  • It was this issue that caused Martin Luther to label James ‘a right strawy book.’

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