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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 after (something)
To struggle intensely to produce or achieve something. The singer was straining after a high note that was clearly out of her range. I could see his feeble brain straining after an acceptable excuse as to why he was so late. The poet long strained after a kind of mythic ideal of his home country, steeped in the folklores of his and several other nations.
strain at a gnat and swallow a camel
To resist, criticize, or bemoan something minor or inconsequential while ignoring or overlooking something much more serious or important. The expression originated in the Bible, in Matthew 23:24. The government is letting the housing crisis spiral out of control while they spend millions trying to catch people who sublet their apartments without paying taxes. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel!
strain at gnats and swallow camels
To resist, criticize, or bemoan something minor or inconsequential while ignoring or overlooking something much more serious or important. The expression originated in the Bible, in Matthew 23:24. The government is letting the housing crisis spiral out of control while they spend millions trying to catch people who sublet their apartments without paying taxes. Talk about straining at gnats and swallowing camels!
1. To draw or pull away (from someone or something) with great effort. I handed the baby to her grandfather, but she strained away from him the moment she was in his arms. I tightened my grip on the reins when I felt the horses beginning to strain away.
2. To work (on something) continuously, diligently, and with a great amount of effort. Lawmakers from both political parties have strained away at comprehensive tax reform legislation. I've been straining away for nearly a year on this book, and I thought I would have a lot more to show for it by now.
strain for effect
To attempt conspicuously and unconvincingly to produce some kind of dramatic or artistic effect, as in a speech, performance, piece of writing, etc. I just felt like she was straining for effect from the beginning of the play right through to the very end. It's so embarrassing reading my old journal entries and seeing how hard I strained for effect back then.
strain (something) off of (something else)
To extract, separate, or remove some substance from something else. Strain most of the water off of the pasta, leaving a little bit in the pot to mix with your sauce. Be sure to strain the excess fat off the soup before returning it to a boil.
strain through (something)
1. To pass a liquid through some kind of filter or sieve in order to extract or remove it from something else, or vice versa. A noun or pronoun is used between "strain" and "through." You'll need to strain the solution through a fine-mesh sieve in order to remove the last of the insoluble particles. Collect some of the cooking water in a jug before straining it through a colander, then use some of that starchy liquid in your pasta sauce just before you're ready to serve.
2. To move through something with great effort or labor. I strained through the underbrush, my skin scratched and clothes torn as a result. It began to rain, and we had to strain through thick, viscous mud for the last 50 meters or so.
3. To search through the text of some written document very carefully and meticulously. I strained through the will, trying to find anything naming me as one of the inheritors. Our team has been spending days straining through all of these papers, but there's nothing of use in any of them!
4. Of one's eyes, to squint through some aperture in an attempt to see (something). She strained through puffy eyelids to see who was at her door so early in the morning. Everyone on the bus strained through the rain-streaked windows to catch a glimpse of the famous actor.
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 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.