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straight and narrow

the way of virtuous or proper conduct:
After his release from prison, he resolved to follow the straight and narrow.
Origin of straight and narrow
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for straight and narrow
  • That's how the local government monitors traffic, chases down leaky water mains, and keeps tourists on the straight and narrow.
  • Martial arts and helping animals keep him on the straight and narrow.
  • To occupy his time, he had to veer off the straight and narrow.
  • The sinner should be brought back onto the straight and narrow road.
  • But her housemates had taken it upon themselves to keep her on the straight and narrow.
  • The macadam ran on straight and narrow, bisecting the spring-green wilderness of fronds.
  • Small, petty signs of disorder can indeed turn people away from the straight and narrow.
  • His story of redemption certainly fits the bill, especially if can keep himself on the straight and narrow.
  • It is no good, he says, counting on the regulators or the regulations to tug them back on to the straight and narrow.
  • Stray from the straight and narrow path of righteousness and be damned, with no proper sense of degree.
British Dictionary definitions for straight and narrow

straight and narrow

(informal) the proper, honest, and moral path of behaviour
Word Origin
perhaps an alteration of strait and narrow, an allusion to Matthew 7:14: ``strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life''
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for straight and narrow


  1. Unmixed; undiluted; neat: He takes his liquor straight (1874+)
  2. Not using narcotics; not addicted; clean (1950s+ Narcotics)
  3. Having had a narcotics dose, esp the first one of the day: Once the addict has had his shot and is ''straight'' he may become industrious (1946+ Narcotics)
  4. Heterosexual; not sexually deviant (1941+ fr homosexuals)
  5. True; honest and direct: from straight-poop tough to moral (1530+)

A tobacco cigarette; square (1960s+ Musicians & students)

Related Terms

go straight

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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