General English


  • noun a group within a species with distinct characteristics


  • noun deformation caused by stress


  • deformation of a material resulting from external loading. The measurement for strain is the change in length per unit of length.


  • A lengthening, contraction, torsion, or other mechanical deformation resulting from an external force. Also called mechanical strain.


  • verb to pour liquid through a sieve in order to separate out solids


  • noun a condition in which a muscle has been stretched or torn by a strong or sudden movement
  • noun a group of microorganisms which are different from others of the same type
  • noun nervous tension and stress


  • verb to remove impurities or solid matter from a liquid by passing it through a mesh


  • verb to damage a part of the body through using it too hard or too much

Origin & History of “strain”

English has two distinct words strain. The older, ‘line of ancestry’ (OE), denotes etymologically ‘something gained by accumulation’. It comes from the prehistoric base *streu- ‘pile up’, which was related to Latin struere ‘build’ (source of English destroy, structure, etc). In the Old English period the notion of ‘gaining something’ was extended metaphorically to ‘producing offspring’, which formed the jumping-off point for the word’s modern range of meanings. Strain ‘pull tight, wrench’ (13th c.) was borrowed from estreign-, the stem form of Old French estreindre ‘pull tight, tie’. this in turn was descended from Latin stringere ‘pull tight, tie tight’ (source also of English strait, strict, and stringent (17th c.) and of a host of derived forms such as constrain (14th c.), prestige, restrain (14th c.) and constrict, district, restrict, etc). Strain ‘tune’ (16th c.) is assumed to be the same word, perhaps deriving ultimately from the notion of ‘stretching’ the strings of a musical instrument.