From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishstrainstrain1 /streɪn/ ●●○ W3 noun 1 worry [countable, uncountable]WORRIED worry that is caused by having to deal with a problem or work too hard over a long period of time → stress I couldn’t look after him anymore; the strain was too much for me. Did you find the job a strain? the stresses and strains of police lifestrain for The trial has been a terrible strain for both of us.strain on It’s quite a strain on me when he’s drinking heavily.put/place a strain on somebody The long working hours put a severe strain on employees.under (a) strain I know you’ve been under a lot of strain lately.crack/collapse/buckle etc under the strain (=become unable to deal with a problem or work) I could see that she was beginning to crack under the strain.2 difficulty [countable, uncountable]PROBLEM a difficulty or problem that is caused when a person, relationship, organization, or system has too much to do or too many problems to deal withstrain on The dry summer has further increased the strain on water resources.put/place (a) strain on something The flu epidemic has put a huge strain on the health service.strain in The attack has led to strains in the relationship between the two countries.under (a) strain His marriage was under strain.break/crack/collapse etc under the strain The party split under the strain.3 force [uncountable]HPPUSHPULL a situation in which something is being pulled or pushed, or is holding weight, and so might break or become damagedstrain on The strain on the cables supporting the bridge is enormous.put/place (a) strain on something Some of these exercises put too much strain on the back muscles. These four posts take the strain of the whole structure.break/snap/collapse etc under the strain The rope snapped under the strain.4 injury [countable, uncountable]MIINJURE an injury to a muscle or part of your body that is caused by using it too much Long hours working at a computer can cause eye strain. The goalkeeper is still out of action with a knee strain.► see thesaurus at injury5 plant/animal [countable]HBTYPE a type of animal, plant, or diseasestrain of different strains of wheat a new strain of the flu virus 6 quality [singular]CHARACTER/PERSONALITY a particular quality which people have, especially one that is passed from parents to childrenstrain of There’s a strain of madness in his family.7 way of saying something [singular] formalMEANING an amount of a feeling that you can see in the way someone speaks, writes, paints etc a strain of bitterness in Young’s later work8 → strains of somethingCOLLOCATIONS – Meanings 1 & 2adjectivesgreat/considerable/severe strainThe country’s health system is under great strain.a terrible strainIt’s been a terrible strain.an intolerable strain (=too great to bear)The cost of these wars put an intolerable strain on the economy.undue strain (=too much strain)How much can you invest without putting any undue strain on your finances?emotional strainShe has been suffering from considerable emotional strain.financial strainThis welfare program has eased the financial strain of raising children alone.verbsput/place (a) strain on somebody/somethingLiving with my parents put quite a strain on our marriage.crack/collapse/buckle etc under the strain (=become unable to continue normally because of the strain)They are worried that the court system might collapse under the strain.ease the strain (=make it less)You can do much to ease the strain of the situation for her.phrasesbe under (a) strainClaudia could see that he was under considerable strain.stresses and strainsHolidays help people to cope with the stresses and strains of life.
Examples from the Corpusstrain• The rope is capable of bearing a strain of three tons.• The company wanted 110% commitment, and that put a strain on our marriage.• Some had been finding work a strain and early retirement came as a relief.• a back strain• A pure-bred strain of barley is required in the production of this whisky.• Both of the positive control strains adhered strongly to HEp-2 cells.• The legal fight has been an enormous strain on my wife.• As she describes the irritating eye strain, Estrada laughs self consciously.• eye strain• Argyle player-manager Shilton ruled himself out of the hiding-to-nothing trip with a groin strain.• A particularly hardy strain of the virus can make you ill for over a week.• Such efforts put heavy strains on the financial and human resources of the organization.• They also needed to determine the genetic sequence of the virus so that they could compare it with known herpes strains.• She had a busy week, and she's under a lot of strain at the moment.• Asthma / bronchitis claims jump 75 %; sprains / strains are 34. 6 % higher.• He had trouble handling the strain of raising eight kids.• He could see the strain in her face as she told him what she was going through.• The strain of managing such a huge company became too much for Anita.• The strain was beginning to show in their friendship.• He is putting his body under unbelievable strain, which is fine when he is 26.find ... strain• Others have found similar strains only in repeated samples from the same individual.• Even Lancaster found his patience strained when Douglas told him how to play his part.• She did not find Flora any strain either.• She found she was straining her ears for the musical clang of the town church bells.put/place (a) strain on something• The waiting also puts a strain on parents.• Lack of stock control Goods which can not be quickly used or sold but put strains on cash flow.• One neck exercise could damage the top of the spine while straight leg sit-ups could put strain on the back.• And the demand for vaccine has started to put a strain on supplies.• The problem is the vigorous shaking of the trunk puts a strain on the roots.• So I was there until Sean was seventeen months, which put a strain on all of us, I think.• Occupational therapists also can modify items to make it possible to use them without placing a strain on arthritic joints.put/place (a) strain on something• The waiting also puts a strain on parents.• Lack of stock control Goods which can not be quickly used or sold but put strains on cash flow.• One neck exercise could damage the top of the spine while straight leg sit-ups could put strain on the back.• And the demand for vaccine has started to put a strain on supplies.• The problem is the vigorous shaking of the trunk puts a strain on the roots.• So I was there until Sean was seventeen months, which put a strain on all of us, I think.• Occupational therapists also can modify items to make it possible to use them without placing a strain on arthritic joints.strain of• a deadly strain of influenza• There is a strong strain of nationalism in the country.• Through the window we could hear the strains of Mozart.strainstrain2 ●●○ verb 1 injure [transitive]MIINJURE to injure a muscle or part of your body by using it too much or making it work too hard I’ve strained a muscle in my leg. You’ll strain your eyes trying to read in this light.► see thesaurus at hurt2 effort [intransitive, transitive]TRY TO DO OR GET something to try very hard to do something using all your strength or abilitystrain (something) to do something She was straining to keep her head above the water.strain for Bill choked and gasped, straining for air.strain your ears/eyes (=try very hard to hear or see) I strained my ears, listening for any sound in the silence of the cave.3 liquid [transitive]DFC to separate solid things from a liquid by pouring the mixture through something with very small holes in it → sieve She strained the pasta.4 difficulty [transitive]FORCE somebody TO DO something to cause difficulties for something by making too much work or too many problems which it cannot deal with easily The increased costs will certainly strain our finances. The incident has strained relations between the two countries. I felt that my patience was being strained to the limit.5 pull/push [intransitive]PUSHPULL to pull hard at something or push hard against somethingstrain against Buddy’s huge gut strained against the buttons on his shirt.strain at a dog straining at its lead 6 → strain every nerve7 → be straining at the leash8 → not strain yourself→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusstrain• Sometimes he strained his head up towards the ceiling and his mouth moved as if he were trying to shout orders.• James strained his right knee playing football.• Righthander Robert Person was scheduled to start, but a strained left hamstring sustained over the weekend could delay his spring debut.• She carries a small but distinct belly, which is straining the red material of the skirt.• Strain the sauce through a sieve.• Repairs to the roof have severely strained the school's budget.• His frightened eyes widened, straining to live.strain your ears/eyes• He stood tensed, straining his ears.• She spoke softly, directing her remarks exclusively at Karelius and Moreau, so that the others were obliged to strain their ears.• She strained her ears but could hear nothing.• Don't strain your eyes by putting up with poor lighting.• We crowded round the table, straining our ears for the magic sounds, while Robert adjusted the cat's whisker.• She strained her eyes, searching, but today she could not persuade herself that there were any seals out there.• As we talked, we stopped once in a while and strained our ears to hear.• I strained my eyes to see their faces, my ears to catch their whispered voices.strain against• Spectators strained against the barriers to get a closer look.Origin strain1 1. (1500-1600) → STRAIN22. Old English streon “gain” strain2 (1300-1400) Old French estraindre, from Latin stringere; → STRINGENT