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strain a point
To expand something beyond its normal limits or interpretation; to treat something flexibly. The principal will strain a point for any student she actually likes, but me? I get detention whenever I do the slightest thing wrong!
strain at the leash
To try to take action, especially when faced with obstacles. The phrase alludes to a dog pulling at its leash because it wants to walk at a different pace or in a different direction than its owner. Ever since she got her driver's license, my daughter has been straining at the leash for more freedom.
strain every nerve
To expend a maximum amount of effort to do something. I strained every nerve to reach that book on the top shelf, and I still couldn't get it.
strain at a gnat
To exaggerate or put too much focus on a minor issue and make it seem like a major one. You got one B and you're acting like you're failing the class. You're straining at a gnat, if you ask me. This is just a minor setback, so let's not strain at a gnat.
strain at (something)
To exert the utmost force against some kind of resistance or barrier. The bank president complained that they had been straining at the restrictive regulations, but consumer advocates pointed out that it had led to a massive nationwide reduction in personal debt. The startled cattle strained at the gates until they eventually burst through and began stampeding through the farm.
See also: strain
strain at (one's) stool
To be constipated; to be unable or find it difficult to defecate. You mentioned that you've been straining at your stool lately. I'm going to prescribe a mild laxative for now, but you really ought to be eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
To use a filter in order to extract or remove solids from a liquid or gas. Can be used in reference to either the solid or liquid in a sentence. A noun or pronoun can be used between "strain" and "off." Strain most of the water off from the pasta, leaving a little bit in the pot to mix with your sauce. Strain off the fat from the top of the soup and then return the mixture to a boil.
To use a filter in order to extract or remove solids from a liquid or gas. Can be used in reference to either the solid or liquid in a sentence. A noun or pronoun can be used between "strain" and "out." Strain most of the water out from the pasta, leaving a little bit in the pot to mix with your sauce. Strain out the fat from the top of the soup and then return the mixture to a boil.
strain at the leash
1. Lit. [for a dog] to pull very hard on its leash. It's hard to walk Fido, because he is always straining at the leash. I wish that this dog would not strain at the leash. It's very hard on me.
2. Fig. [for a person] to want to move ahead with things, aggressively and independently. She wants to fix things right away. She is straining at the leash to get started. Paul is straining at the leash to get on the job.
strain at a gnatLITERARY
If someone strains at a gnat, they concern themselves with something small and unimportant, sometimes failing to deal with something much more important. People worry over tiny differences in the fat content of food while eating huge quantities of sugar. It's a classic case of straining at a gnat. Note: You can also say that someone strains at a gnat and swallows a camel, with the same meaning. One must be wary of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Note: This expression comes from the Bible. Jesus used it when criticizing the scribes and the Pharisees for being too concerned with unimportant areas of the Jewish law. (Matthew 23:24)
strain every nervemake every possible effort.
Nerve is used here in an earlier sense of ‘tendon or sinew’.
strain at a gnatmake a difficulty about accepting something trivial. literary
The phrase derives from Matthew 23:24, ‘Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel’. The word strain here appears to mean ‘make a violent effort’, but it may in fact refer to the straining of a liquid to remove unwanted particles: the image is of a person quietly accepting a difficulty or problem of significant proportions while baulking at something comparatively trivial.
strain at the leashbe eager to begin or do something.
strain at the ˈleash(informal) want to be free from control; want to do something very much: Why don’t you let her leave home? Can’t you see she’s straining at the leash? ♢ He’s straining at the leash to leave Britain for somewhere sunnier.
A leash is a long piece of leather, chain or rope used for holding and controlling a dog.
To separate some liquid from a solid by filtration: After boiling the rice, I strained off the excess water in the pot. The chemist strained the water off from the top of the solution in the beaker.
To separate some solid from a liquid by filtration: The cook strained out the noodles from the broth. There was some sediment in the concoction, but the chemist strained it out.
strain every nerve
To make every effort.