1. Subjected to great or excessive tension; wrenched; weakened; as, strained relations between old friends.
2. Done or produced with straining or excessive effort; as, his wit was strained.
Strain, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Strained p. pr. & vb. n. Straining.]
1. To draw with force; to extend with great effort; to stretch; as, to strain a rope; to strain the shrouds of a ship; to strain the cords of a musical instrument. “To strain his fetters with a stricter care.”
2. Mech. To act upon, in any way, so as to cause change of form or volume, as forces on a beam to bend it.
3. To exert to the utmost; to ply vigorously.
Strains his young nerves. --Shak.
They strain their warbling throats
To welcome in the spring. --Dryden.
4. To stretch beyond its proper limit; to do violence to, in the matter of intent or meaning; as, to strain the law in order to convict an accused person.
There can be no other meaning in this expression, however some may pretend to strain it. --Swift.
5. To injure by drawing, stretching, or the exertion of force; as, the gale strained the timbers of the ship.
6. To injure in the muscles or joints by causing to make too strong an effort; to harm by overexertion; to sprain; as, to strain a horse by overloading; to strain the wrist; to strain a muscle.
Prudes decayed about may track,
Strain their necks with looking back. --Swift.
7. To squeeze; to press closely.
Evander with a close embrace
Strained his departing friend. --Dryden.
8. To make uneasy or unnatural; to produce with apparent effort; to force; to constrain.
He talks and plays with Fatima, but his mirth
Is forced and strained. --Denham.
The quality of mercy is not strained. --Shak.
9. To urge with importunity; to press; as, to strain a petition or invitation.
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment. --Shak.
10. To press, or cause to pass, through a strainer, as through a screen, a cloth, or some porous substance; to purify, or separate from extraneous or solid matter, by filtration; to filter; as, to strain milk through cloth.
To strain a point, to make a special effort; especially, to do a degree of violence to some principle or to one's own feelings.
To strain courtesy, to go beyond what courtesy requires; to insist somewhat too much upon the precedence of others; -- often used ironically. --Shak.
adj 1: lacking natural ease; "a labored style of debating" [syn: labored,
2: under great stress; "her voice was strained as she asked the
3: lacking spontaneity; not natural; "a constrained smile";
"forced heartiness"; "a strained smile" [syn: constrained,
4: struggling for effect; "agonistic poses" [syn: agonistic]