strain(redirected from strains)
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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!
crack under the strain
Fig. to have a mental or emotional collapse because of continued work or stress. He worked 80-hour weeks for a month and finally cracked under the strain.
place a strain on someone or something
1. Lit. to burden and nearly overwhelm someone or something. The weight of all the trucks placed a strain on the bridge.
2. Fig. to tax the resources or strength of someone, a group, or something to the utmost. All of the trouble at work placed a strain on Kelly. The recession placed a strain on the economy.
put a strain on someone or something
to burden or overload someone or something. All this bad economic news puts a strain on everyone's nerves. The epidemic put a strain on the resources of the hospital.
strain after something
[for a singer] to work very hard to reach a very high or a very low note. Don't strain after the note. Let it come naturally, like a cooling breeze. She was straining after each note as if it hurt her to sing, which it probably did.
strain at gnats and swallow camels
Prov. to criticize other people for minor offenses while ignoring major offenses. (Biblical.) Jill: Look at that. Edward is combing his hair at his desk. How unprofessional. Jane: Don't strain at gnats and swallow camels. There are worse problems than that around here.
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 away (at something)
to work very hard, continuously, at doing something. She strained away at her weights, getting stronger every day. She was straining away on the rowing machine when we came in.
strain for an effect
to work very hard to try to achieve some effect. The actors were straining so hard for an effect that they forgot their lines. Don't strain for effect so much. The authors of this drama knew what they were doing, and it's in the lines already.
strain something off of somethingand strain something off
to remove the excess or unwanted liquid from something. The cook strained the grease off the cooking juices. The cook strained off the grease.
strain something through something
to filter a liquid or a watery substance by pouring it through something. Tony strained the strawberry jelly through cheesecloth. We will have to strain the clabber to take out the curds.
See also: strain
strain every nerve
to try extremely hard to do something I was straining every nerve to catch what they were saying but they were sitting just a bit too far away from me.
be straining at the leash
to be very eager to do something that you are being prevented from doing at the present time Meanwhile we hear that our soldiers have reached a peak of fitness and are straining at the leash.
To pull or push on something, trying to make it yield or give way: The dog barked viciously and strained at its leash. The angry crowd strained at the barriers.
See also: strain
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.
strain at stool
To have difficulty defecating.