narrow

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narrow at the equator

Very hungry. The phrase alludes to the idea of having a slimmer midsection due to not eating. I'm so narrow at the equator—can we please get some food now?
See also: narrow

narrow escape

A situation in which danger or problems are barely avoided. That guy barely made it over the tracks before the train came. What a narrow escape!
See also: escape, narrow

the straight and narrow

A morally upright way of life. I need to stay on the straight and narrow so I don't get arrested again.
See also: and, narrow, straight

stay on the straight and narrow

To maintain a morally upright way of life; to only make choices that are considered morally and legally correct. Now that I have a conviction on my record, I really have to stay on the straight and narrow going forward. My father stayed on the straight and narrow until the day he died, and in his later life, I think he regretted never doing anything wild or unexpected when he had the chance.
See also: and, narrow, on, stay, straight

keep on the straight and narrow

To maintain a morally upright way of life; to only make choices that are considered morally and legally correct. Now that I have a conviction on my record, I really have to keep on the straight and narrow going forward. My father kept on the straight and narrow until the day he died, and in his later life, I think he regretted never doing anything wild or unexpected when he had the chance.
See also: and, keep, narrow, on, straight

keep to the straight and narrow

Fig. to behave properly and correctly; to stay out of trouble. If you keep to the straight and narrow, you can't help but win in the end. I always keep to the straight and narrow.
See also: and, keep, narrow, straight

narrow something down (to people or things)

to reduce a list of possibilities from many to a selected few. We can narrow the choice down to green or red. We narrowed down the choice to you or Paul.
See also: down, narrow

narrow squeak

Fig. a success almost not achieved; a lucky or marginal success; a problem almost not surmounted. That was a narrow squeak. I don't know how I survived. Another narrow squeak like that and I'll give up.
See also: narrow, squeak

the straight and narrow

Fig. a straight and law-abiding route through life. (Referring to a morally rigid and correct course of behavior. Fixed order.) You should have no trouble with the police if you stick to the straight and narrow. Roger was the kind who followed the straight and narrow every day of his life.
See also: and, narrow, straight

narrow escape

A barely successful flight from or avoidance of danger or trouble, as in He had a narrow escape, since the bullet came within inches of his head. This expression uses narrow in the sense of "barely sufficient." [Late 1500s] For a newer synonym, see close call.
See also: escape, narrow

straight and narrow, the

The honest and upright way of living, as in He led a wild life when he was young, but he's been on the straight and narrow for some years . This expression is widely though to come from confusion of straight, "not crooked," with strait, "narrow," owing to a misinterpretation of a passage from the New Testament: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life" (Matthew 7:14). The current phrase dates only from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: and, straight

the straight and narrow

COMMON If someone or something keeps you on the straight and narrow, they help you to live a good, honest life and prevent you from doing immoral or illegal things. He now had his faith to keep him on the straight and narrow. Note: You can also say that someone strays from the straight and narrow, meaning that they stop living a good, honest life and do something immoral or illegal. The goal is to prevent them from straying from the straight and narrow. Note: `Straight' was originally `strait', which meant `narrow'. The expression probably refers to a passage in the Bible: `Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'(Matthew 7:14)
See also: and, narrow, straight

the straight and narrow

morally correct behaviour.
The full form of the expression is the straight and narrow path or way . It developed from a misunderstanding of Matthew 7:14, ‘strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life’, where strait is in fact being used as another word for narrow .
See also: and, narrow, straight

a narrow eˈscape/ˈsqueak

a situation where somebody only just avoids injury, danger or failure: We had a narrow escape on the way here. The wind blew a tree down just in front of us. We could have been killed.
See also: escape, narrow, squeak

keep to, stay on, etc. the ˌstraight and ˈnarrow

(informal) live your life according to strict moral principles: She’s stopped drinking and now she’s trying to stay on the straight and narrow.This phrase comes from the Bible, describing the path to Heaven.
See also: and, keep, narrow, stay, straight

narrow squeak

n. a success almost not achieved; a lucky or marginal success; a problem almost not surmounted. That was a narrow squeak. I don’t know how I survived.
See also: narrow, squeak
References in classic literature ?
In our descent we followed the line of ridges; these were exceedingly narrow, and for considerable lengths steep as a ladder; but all clothed with vegetation.
A single shriek such as they had heard the night before would have been sufficient to have sent them all racing madly for the narrow cleft that led through the great walls to the outer world.
Even as my mind framed the thought, Woola halted suddenly before a narrow, arched doorway in the cliff by the trail's side.
Crowding the narrow streets in front of them are beggars, who beg forever, yet never collect any thing; and wonderful cripples, distorted out of all semblance of humanity, almost; vagabonds driving laden asses; porters carrying dry-goods boxes as large as cottages on their backs; peddlers of grapes, hot corn, pumpkin seeds, and a hundred other things, yelling like fiends; and sleeping happily, comfortably, serenely, among the hurrying feet, are the famed dogs of Constantinople; drifting noiselessly about are squads of Turkish women, draped from chin to feet in flowing robes, and with snowy veils bound about their heads, that disclose only the eyes and a vague, shadowy notion of their features.
We went to the great Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops-- thousands, I should say--all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead.
I looked round and saw to the right of me and a half-dozen yards in front of me a narrow gap in the wall of rock through which a ray of light slanted into the shadows.
I clambered up the narrow cleft in the rock and came out upon the sulphur on the westward side of the village of the Beast Men.
That gap was altogether fortunate for me, for the narrow chimney, slanting obliquely upward, must have impeded the nearer pursuers.
Yes--a mole, which lives underground would seem narrow even to me.
In Switzerland I have done but little, learnt but little, and seen but little; my life there was in a circle; I walked the same round every day; I could not get out of it; had I rested--remained there even till my death, I should never have enlarged it, because I am poor and not skilful, I have not great acquirements; when I was quite tired of this round, I begged my aunt to go to Brussels; my existence is no larger here, because I am no richer or higher; I walk in as narrow a limit, but the scene is changed; it would change again if I went to England.
Here, all was almost total darkness until his eyes became accustomed to the interior, the darkness of which was slightly alleviated by the reflected light from a distant street flare which shone intermittently through the narrow windows fronting the thoroughfare.
Here is a door," and a moment later we were in a tiny antechamber at the foot of a narrow stone staircase.
Swinging myself outward, I began the descent, and had come to within a few feet of the ground, being just opposite a narrow window, when I was startled by a savage growl almost in my ear, and then a great taloned paw darted from the aperture to seize me, and I saw the snarling face of a lion within the embrasure.
Again he crossed the wide thoroughfare, walked along a narrow street, and re-entered hastily his own departmental buildings.
The walls of the houses were wet, the mud of the roadway glistened with an effect of phosphorescence, and when he emerged into the Strand out of a narrow street by the side of Charing Cross Station the genius of the locality assimilated him.