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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!
See also: point, strain

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.
See also: leash, strain

crack under the strain

To submit to the stress of a particular situation; to stop functioning due to the pressure. If you keep pushing your employees so hard, they'll eventually crack under the strain.
See also: crack, strain

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.
See also: every, nerve, strain

don't strain yourself

Don't inconvenience or trouble yourself to do something. Usually used sarcastically. The phone is right next to you, but don't strain yourself—I'll answer it.
See also: strain

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.
See also: gnat, strain

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.
See also: crack, 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.
See also: on, place, strain

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.
See also: on, put, strain

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.
See also: after, strain

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.
See also: and, camel, gnat, strain, swallow

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.
See also: leash, strain

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.
See also: away, strain

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.
See also: effect, strain

strain something off of something

 and 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.
See also: of, off, strain

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, through

strain at a gnat

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)
See also: gnat, strain

be straining at the leash

If someone is straining at the leash, they are very eager to do things. Note: A `leash' is a long thin piece of leather or chain, which you attach to a dog's collar so that you can keep the dog under control. The players all know that there are plenty of youngsters straining at the leash to take their places if they don't perform.
See also: leash, strain

strain every nerve

make every possible effort.
Nerve is used here in an earlier sense of ‘tendon or sinew’.
See also: every, nerve, strain

don't strain yourself

used sarcastically to accuse a person of laziness or dilatoriness. informal
See also: strain

strain at a gnat

make 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.
See also: gnat, strain

strain at the leash

be eager to begin or do something.
See also: leash, strain

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.
See also: leash, strain

strain every ˈnerve/ˈsinew (to do something)

(written) try as hard as you can (to do something): He strained every sinew to help us, but didn’t succeed.
See also: every, nerve, strain

strain at

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

strain off

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.
See also: off, strain

strain out

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.
See also: out, strain

strain every nerve

To make every effort.
See also: every, nerve, strain

strain at stool

To have difficulty defecating.
See also: stool, strain
References in periodicals archive ?
The Oka vaccine strain was obtained from the commercial vaccine preparation Varivax[R] (Genbiotech, India; Batch no: 200704041 Date of Expiry: 20/10/ 08) and processed in parallel with the clinical strains.
Norovirus pathway in water environment estimated by genetic analysis of strains from patients of gastroenteritis, sewage, treated wastewater, river water and oysters.
Researchers have examined that reconstruction, as well as individual genes from this virus, to determine how the 1918 strain infected cells.
Deviations from a uniform stress-strain response can be found at extremes in configurations, which can include high and low shape factors, high strains and conditions of higher friction or non-uniform deformation.
Breeding inbred mice is easy," says Shinya Abe, business development officer of IBL Japan, a Gifu-based biotech company, "but successfully breeding and maintaining transgenic strains is challenging.
To be effective, the nonvirulent virus used to make an influenza vaccine must match the genetic makeup of the viral strain that is circulating in the human population.
For example, the creep compliance curves of largely deformed epoxy glass are dependent on the value of strain applied [2].
CSIRO Livestock Industries has developed an experimental vaccine to protect chickens from the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza (bird flu).
Dual-tropic strains infect all 3 types of cells and use both co-receptors as entry pathways.
The many strains of influenza make it difficult to form a defense, de la Torre said.
The origins of the more virulent strains of Toxoplasma were first documented in a 2001 Science paper from Boothroyd's group; the researchers found that the recombination of two relatively benign strains of Toxoplasma can result in a thousand-fold increase in their ability to cause serious disease.
psittaci strains isolated from symptomatic, hospitalized patients.
Furthermore, they found, it produces 16 times as much toxin A and 23 times as much toxin B as typical hospital strains of C.
Resistant strains of Campylobacter are a growing public health threat, particularly among elderly and immunocompromised patients.