AskDefine | Define strait

Dictionary Definition

strait adj : strict and severe; "strait is the gate"


1 a narrow channel of the sea joining two larger bodies of water [syn: sound]
2 a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs [syn: pass, straits]

User Contributed Dictionary



from Middle English streit, from Old French estreit (modern form étroit), from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere (to compress, tighten). Doublet of strict.




  1. narrow; restricted as to space or room; close
  2. righteous, strict
    To follow the strait and narrow

Usage notes

The adjective is often confused with straight.

Derived terms


  1. A narrow channel of water connecting two larger bodies of water
    The Strait of Gibraltar
  2. A difficult position (often used in plural)
    To be in dire straits


narrow channel of water
a difficult position


Extensive Definition

A strait is a narrow, navigable channel of water that connects two larger navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not navigable, for example because it is too shallow, or because it contains an unnavigable reef or archipelago. The terms strait, channel, passage, sound, and firth can be synonymous and interchangeable, although each is sometimes differentiated with varying senses. Many straits are economically important. Straits can lie on important shipping routes, and wars have been fought for control of these straits. Numerous artificial channels, called canals, have been constructed to connect two bodies of water over land.
Although rivers and canals often form a bridge between two large lakes or a lake and a sea, and these seem to suit the formal definition of straits, they are not usually referred to as straits. Straits are typically much larger, wider structures.
Straits are the duals of isthmi. That is, while straits lie between two land masses and connect two larger bodies of water, isthmi lie between two bodies of water and connect two larger land masses.
A strait is similar to an inlet although inlets typically pass through island land masses usually from a large body of water such as an ocean to a much smaller body such as a bay while straits pass through much larger land masses and connect much larger bodies of water such as seas and oceans.

Well-known straits

Well-known straits in the world include:

See also

strait in Afrikaans: Seestraat
strait in Arabic: مضيق
strait in Breton: Strizh-mor
strait in Bulgarian: Проток
strait in Catalan: Estret
strait in Czech: Průliv
strait in Welsh: Culfor
strait in Danish: Stræde (farvand)
strait in German: Meerenge
strait in Estonian: Väin
strait in Modern Greek (1453-): Πορθμός
strait in Spanish: Estrecho
strait in Esperanto: Markolo
strait in Persian: تنگه
strait in French: Détroit
strait in Korean: 해협
strait in Croatian: Tjesnac
strait in Ido: Stretajo
strait in Indonesian: Selat
strait in Ossetian: Донкъубал
strait in Icelandic: Sund
strait in Italian: Stretto
strait in Hebrew: מצר
strait in Swahili (macrolanguage): Mlango wa bahari
strait in Kurdish: Tengav
strait in Latin: Fretum
strait in Hungarian: Szoros
strait in Dutch: Zeestraat
strait in Japanese: 海峡
strait in Polish: Cieśnina
strait in Portuguese: Estreito
strait in Russian: Пролив
strait in Slovenian: Ožina
strait in Finnish: Salmi
strait in Swedish: Sund
strait in Vietnamese: Eo biển
strait in Ukrainian: Протока
strait in Chinese: 海峡

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

angustifoliate, angustirostrate, angustisellate, angustiseptal, arm, armlet, bay, bayou, belt, bight, bind, boca, bottleneck, bound, bounded, box, breakers ahead, canal, cardhouse, cause for alarm, channel, circumscribed, climacteric, close, close-fitting, clutch, complication, conditioned, confined, confining, constricted, contingency, convergence of events, copyrighted, cove, cramp, cramped, creek, crisis, critical juncture, critical point, crossroads, crowded, crucial period, crunch, danger, dangerous ground, defile, demanding, difficult, dilemma, disciplined, embarrassing position, embarrassment, emergency, endangerment, estuary, euripus, exacting, exigency, extremity, fine how-do-you-do, finite, fjord, frith, gaping chasm, gathering clouds, gulf, gut, harbor, hazard, hell to pay, hinge, hobble, hot water, house of cards, how-do-you-do, imbroglio, imperilment, incapacious, incommodious, inlet, isthmian, isthmic, isthmus, jam, jeopardy, kyle, limited, limiting, loch, meager, menace, mess, mix, moderated, morass, mouth, narrow, narrow seas, narrows, natural harbor, near, neck, parlous straits, pass, patented, peril, perplexity, pickle, pinch, plight, predicament, prescribed, pretty pass, pretty pickle, pretty predicament, proscribed, push, quagmire, qualified, quicksand, reach, restricted, restricting, rigorous, risk, road, roads, roadstead, rocks ahead, rub, scant, scanty, scrape, slender, slough, sound, spot, squeeze, stew, sticky wicket, storm clouds, straitened, straits, swamp, thin ice, threat, throat, tight, tight spot, tight squeeze, tightrope, tricky spot, trouble, turn, turning, turning point, unholy mess
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1