straightforward (adj.) Look up straightforward at
1550s, "directly forward, right ahead," from straight (adj.1) + forward (adv.). In reference to language, from 1806. Related: Straightforwardly; straightforwardness.
strain (v.) Look up strain at
c. 1300, "tie, bind, fasten, gird," from present participle stem of Old French estreindre "bind tightly, clasp, squeeze," from Latin stringere (2) "draw tight, bind tight, compress, press together," from PIE root *streig- "to stroke, rub, press" (cognates: Lithuanian stregti "congeal, freeze, become stiff;" Greek strangein "twist;" Old High German strician "mends nets;" Old English streccian "to stretch;" German stramm, Dutch stram "stiff").

From late 14c. as "tighten; make taut," also "exert oneself; overexert (a body part)," Sense of "press through a filter, put (a liquid) through a strainer" is from early 14c. (implied in strainer); that of "to stress beyond measure, carry too far, make a forced interpretation of" is from mid-15c. Related: Strained; straining.
strain (n.2) Look up strain at
"line of descent, lineage, breed, ancestry," c. 1200, from Old English strion, streon "a gain, acquisition, treasure; a begetting, procreation," from Proto-Germanic *streu-nam- "to pile up," from PIE root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)). Hence "race, stock, line" (early 14c.). Applied to animal species from c. 1600; usually involving fairly minor variations, but not distinct from breed (n.). Normal sound development would have yielded *streen, but the word was altered in late Middle English, apparently by influence of strain (n.1).
strain (n.1) Look up strain at
"injury caused by straining," c. 1400, from strain (v.). The meaning "passage of music" (1570s) probably developed from a verbal sense of "to tighten" the voice, which originally was used in reference to the strings of a musical instrument (late 14c.).
strainer (n.) Look up strainer at
"utensil which strains," early 14c., agent noun from strain (v.).
strait (n.) Look up strait at
mid-14c., "narrow, confined space or place," specifically of bodies of water from late 14c., from Old French estreit, estrait "narrow part, pass, defile, narrow passage of water," noun use of adjective (see strait (adj.)). Sense of "difficulty, plight" (usually straits) first recorded 1540s. Strait and narrow "conventional or wisely limited way of life" is recorded from mid-14c. (compare straight (adj.2)).
strait (adj.) Look up strait at
"narrow, strict" (late 13c.), from Old French estreit, estrait "tight, close-fitting, constricted, narrow" (Modern French étroit), from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere (2) "bind or draw tight" (see strain (v.)). More or less confused with unrelated straight (adj.). Related: Straightly.
strait-jacket (n.) Look up strait-jacket at
also straitjacket, 1795 as a type of restraint for lunatics, from strait (adj.) + jacket (n.); earlier in same sense was strait-waistcoat (1753). As a verb from 1863. Related: Strait-jacketed.
strait-laced (adj.) Look up strait-laced at
early 15c., of stays or bodices, "made close and tight;" see strait (adj.) + lace (v.). Figurative sense of "over-precise, prudish, strict in manners or morals" is from 1550s.
straiten (v.) Look up straiten at
1520s (transitive) "to restrict, make narrow," from strait (adj.) + -en (1). Related: straitened; straitening. Earlier verb was simply strait "to make narrow" (early 15c.).
straitened (adj.) Look up straitened at
c. 1600, "too narrow;" 1716, "reduced to hardship;" past participle adjective from strait (v.). Phrase straitened circumstances recorded from 1766.
strand (n.1) Look up strand at
"shore, beach," Old English strand "sea-shore," from Proto-Germanic *strandaz (cognates: Danish and Swedish strand "beach, shore, strand," Old Norse strönd "border, edge, shore," Old Frisian strond, Middle Dutch strant, Dutch strand, Middle Low German strant, German Strand "beach"), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from PIE root *ster- "to stretch out." Strictly, the part of a shore that lies between the tide-marks. Formerly also used of river banks, hence the London street name (1246).
strand (v.) Look up strand at
1620s, "to drive aground on a shore," from strand (n.1); figurative sense of "leave helpless," as of a ship left aground by the tide, is first recorded 1837. Related: Stranded; stranding.
strand (n.2) Look up strand at
"individual fiber of a rope, string, etc.," late 15c., probably from a continental Germanic source akin to Old High German streno "lock, tress, strand of hair," Middle Dutch strene "a skein, hank of thread," German Strähne "a skein, strand," of unknown connection. Perhaps to English via an Old French form.
strange (adj.) Look up strange at
late 13c., "from elsewhere, foreign, unknown, unfamiliar," from Old French estrange "foreign, alien, unusual, unfamiliar, curious; distant; inhospitable; estranged, separated" (Modern French étrange), from Latin extraneus "foreign, external, from without" (source also of Italian strano "strange, foreign," Spanish estraño), from extra "outside of" (see extra). In early use also strounge, straunge. Sense of "queer, surprising" is attested from late 14c. In nuclear physics, from 1956.
stranger (n.) Look up stranger at
late 14c., "unknown person, foreigner," from strange + -er (1) or else from Old French estrangier "foreigner" (Modern French étranger), from estrange. Latin used the adjective extraneus as a noun to mean "stranger." The English noun never picked up the secondary sense of the adjective. As a form of address to an unknown person, it is recorded from 1817, American English rural colloquial. Meaning "one who has stopped visiting" is recorded from 1520s.
strangle (v.) Look up strangle at
late 13c., from Old French estrangler "choke, suffocate, throttle" (Modern French étrangler), from Latin strangulare "to choke, stifle, check, constrain," from Greek strangalan "to choke, twist," from strangale "a halter, cord, lace," related to strangos "twisted," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see string (n.)). Related: Strangled; strangling.
strangle-hold (n.) Look up strangle-hold at
also stranglehold, 1893, in wrestling, from strangle (v.) + hold (n.). Figurative use by 1901.
strangler (n.) Look up strangler at
1550s, agent noun from strangle (v.).
strangulation (n.) Look up strangulation at
1540s, from Latin strangulationem (nominative strangulatio) "a choking, a suffocating," noun of action from past participle stem of strangulare (see strangle). The verb strangulate (1660s) probably is a back-formation from this. Related: Strangulated.
strap (n.) Look up strap at
1610s, "band of leather," from Scottish and/or nautical variant of strope "loop or strap on a harness" (mid-14c.), probably from Old French estrop "strap," from Latin stroppus "strap, band," perhaps via Etruscan, ultimately from Greek strophos "twisted band; a cord, rope," from strephein "to turn" (see strophe). Old English stropp, Dutch strop "halter" also are borrowed from Latin, and the Old English word might be the source of the modern one. Slang meaning "credit" is from 1828.
strap (v.) Look up strap at
"to fasten or secure with a strap," 1711, from strap (n.). Slang adjective strapped "short of money" is from 1857, from strap (n.) in the old sense of "financial credit" (1828). Meaning "to beat with a strap" is from 1735. Related: Strapped; strapping.
strap-hanger (n.) Look up strap-hanger at
also straphanger "rider on a street-car, elevated-train, bus, or subway," 1901, from strap (n.) + hanger. In reference to the hanging straps built in to cars and meant to be grasped for balance by those without seats.
strapless (adj.) Look up strapless at
1824 of shoes, 1839 of trousers, 1920 of gowns, 1931 of brassieres, from strap (n.) + -less.
strapline (n.) Look up strapline at
1960, in typography, "subhead above the main head," from strap (n.) + line (n.). In reference to a woman's undergarments, by 1973.
strapping (adj.) Look up strapping at
"tall and sturdy, robust," originally applied to women, 1650s, from present participle of strap (v.). Compare similar senses of whopping, spanking, bouncing and other present participle adjectives of violent action expressing something large in size.
strappy (adj.) Look up strappy at
of shoes, etc., by 1970, from strap (n.) + -y (2).
strata (n.) Look up strata at
c. 1700, plural of stratum.
stratagem (n.) Look up stratagem at
"artifice, trick," late 15c., from Middle French strattegeme, stratagème "trick, especially to outwit an enemy" (15c.), from Italian stratagemma, from Latin strategema "artifice, stratagem," from Greek strategema "the act of a general; military stratagem," from strategein "to be a general, command," from strategos "general" (see strategy). Related: Stratagematic; stratagemical. The second -a- is a Romanic misspelling (compare Spanish estratagema).
strategic (adj.) Look up strategic at
"pertaining to strategy, characterized by strategy," 1807, from French stratégique and directly from Greek strategikos in classical use "of or for a general; fitted for command," from strategos (see strategy). Related: Strategical; strategically (1810).
strategist (n.) Look up strategist at
1838, from French stratégiste, from stratégie (see strategy).
strategize (v.) Look up strategize at
1874, from strategy + -ize. Related: Strategized; strategizing.
strategy (n.) Look up strategy at
1810, "art of a general," from French stratégie (18c.) and directly from Greek strategia "office or command of a general," from strategos "general, commander of an army," also the title of various civil officials and magistrates, from stratos "multitude, army, expedition, encamped army," literally "that which is spread out" (see structure (n.)) + agos "leader," from agein "to lead" (see act (n.)). In non-military use from 1887.
strath (n.) Look up strath at
"wide river valley between hills," 1530s, from Scottish, from Old Irish srath "wide river valley," from Old Celtic *s(t)rato-, from PIE root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)).
stratification (n.) Look up stratification at
1610s, from Medieval Latin stratificationem (nominative stratificatio), noun of action from past participle stem of stratificare "to form strata," from stratum "thing spread out" (see stratum) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). In sociology from 1879.
stratify (v.) Look up stratify at
1660s, from French stratifier, from Modern Latin stratificare, from stratum (see stratum). Related: Stratified; stratifying.
stratigraphy (n.) Look up stratigraphy at
"description of strata," 1865, from Latin strati-, comb. form of stratum (see stratum) + -graphy. Related: Stratigraphic; stratigraphical.
strato- Look up strato- at
before vowels strat-, word-forming element referring to layers or layering, also stratus clouds, from comb. form of Latin stratus "a spreading" (see stratum).
strato-cumulus (adj.) Look up strato-cumulus at
1898, from strato- + cumulus.
stratocracy (n.) Look up stratocracy at
"government by the army, military government," 1650s, from comb. form of Greek stratos "army, encamped army" (see strategy) + -cracy.
stratography (n.) Look up stratography at
"description of armies," 1810, from comb. form of Greek stratos "army, encamped army" (see strategy) + -graphy.
stratosphere (n.) Look up stratosphere at
1908, from French stratosphère, literally "sphere of layers," coined by French meteorologist Léon-Philippe Teisserenc de Bort (1855-1913) from Latin stratus "a spreading out" (from past participle stem of sternere "to spread out;" see structure (n.)) + French -sphère, as in atmosphère (see sphere).

The region where the temperature increases or remains steady as you go higher. An earlier stratosphere, attested in English 1908 and coined in German 1901, was a geological term for part of the Earth's crust. It is now obsolete. Related: Stratospheric.
stratovolcano (n.) Look up stratovolcano at
coined in German (von Seebach, 1866), from strato- + volcano. So called for its layered structure.
stratum (n.) Look up stratum at
"horizontal layer," 1590s, from Modern Latin special use of Latin stratum "thing spread out, coverlet, beadspread, horse-blanket; pavement," noun uses of neuter of stratus "prostrate, prone," past participle of sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out," from PIE *stre-to- "to stretch, extend," from root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)).
stratus (n.) Look up stratus at
"a low layer of cloud," 1803, from Latin stratus "a spreading," from noun use of past participle of sternere (see stratum).
straw (n.) Look up straw at
Old English streaw (rare) "stems or stalks of certain species of grains," apparently literally "that which is scattered or strewn," related to streowian (see strew), from Proto-Germanic *strawam "that which is scattered" (cognates: Old Norse stra, Danish straa, Swedish strå, Old Saxon stro, Old Frisian stre, Old Dutch, Old High German stro, Dutch stroo, German Stroh "straw"), from PIE *stere- "to spread" (see structure (n.)). The notion perhaps is of dried grain stalks strewn on a floor as carpeting or bedding.

As a type of what is trifling or unimportant, attested from late 13c. Meaning "hollow tube through which a drink is sucked" is recorded from 1851. To draw straws as a means of deciding something is recorded from 1779 (the custom probably is older). As an adjective, "made of straw," mid-15c.; hence "false, sham." Straw poll is from 1932; earlier straw vote (1866). Straw hat first attested mid-15c. To clutch (or grasp or catch) at straws (1748) is what a drowning man proverbially would do. The last straw (1836 apart from the full phrase) is from the proverbial image: "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back" (or, less often, the mare's, the horse's, or the elephant's), an image in use in English by 1755.
Let it not, however, be inferred that taxation cannot be pushed too far : it is, as the Oriental proverb says, the last straw that overloads the camel ; a small addition, if ill-timed, may overturn the whole. ["The Scots Magazine," April 1799]
straw man (n.) Look up straw man at
1590s, "doll or scarecrow made of bound straw," from straw (n.) + man (n.). Figuratively, in debates, by 1896. Man of straw "imaginary opponent" is recorded from 1620s.
strawberry (n.) Look up strawberry at
Old English streawberige, streaberie; see straw + berry. There is no corresponding compound in other Germanic languages; the reason for the name is uncertain, but perhaps it is in reference to the tiny chaff-like external seeds which cover the fruit. A cognate Old English name was eorðberge "earth-berry" (compare Modern German erdbeere). As a color adjective from 1670s. Strawberry blonde is attested from 1884. Strawberry mark (1847) so called for its resemblance.
stray (v.) Look up stray at
c. 1300, a shortening of Old French estraier "wander about, roam, drift, run loose," said of animals, especially a horse without a master, also of persons, perhaps literally "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from Late Latin via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the Old French word is from Vulgar Latin *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing Latin extra vagari "to wander outside" (see extravagant). Figurative sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c. Related: Strayed; straying.
stray (n.) Look up stray at
"domestic animal found wandering," early 13c., from Anglo-French noun use of Old French estraié "strayed, riderless," past participle adjective from estraier "to roam, drift, run loose" (see stray (v.)).