affected or produced by effort; not natural or spontaneous; forced: strained hospitality.

1350–1400; Middle English; see strain1, -ed2

strainedly [streynd-lee, strey-nid-] , adverb
strainedness, noun
well-strained, adjective
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World English Dictionary
strained (streɪnd)
1.  (of an action, performance, etc) not natural or spontaneous
2.  (of an atmosphere, relationship, etc) not relaxed; tense

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Word Origin & History

"to stretch, draw tight," c.1300, from prp. stem of O.Fr. estreindre "bind tightly, clasp, squeeze," from L. stringere (2) "bind or draw tight," from PIE base *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (cf. Lith. stregti "congeal;" Gk. strangein "twist;" O.H.G. strician "mends nets;" O.E. streccian
"to stretch," streng "string;" Ger. stramm, Du. stram "stiff"). Sense of "press through a filter" is from early 14c. (implied in strainer); that of "lay undue stress on, make a forced interpretation of" is from mid-15c. Noun sense of "injury caused by straining" is from 1558. The meaning "passage of music" (1570s) probably developed from a verb meaning "to tighten" the voice, originally the strings of a musical instrument (late 14c.).

"line of descent," O.E. strion, streon "gain, begetting," from P.Gmc. *streun- "to pile up," from PIE base *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure). Applied to animal species first in 1607.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

strain 1 (strān)
v. strained, strain·ing, strains

  1. To pull, draw, or stretch tight.

  2. To stretch or exert one's muscles or nerves to the utmost.

  3. To injure or impair by overuse or overexertion; wrench.

  4. To filter, trickle, percolate, or ooze.

  5. To pass a liquid through a filtering agent such as a strainer.

  6. To draw off or remove by filtration.

  1. The act of straining.

  2. The state of being strained.

  3. Extreme or laborious effort.

  4. A great or excessive pressure, demand, or stress on one's body, mind, or resources.

  5. A wrench, twist, or other physical injury resulting from excessive tension, effort, or use.

strain 2 (strān)

  1. The collective descendants of a common ancestor; a race, stock, line, or breed.

  2. Any of the various lines of ancestry united in an individual or a family; ancestry or lineage.

  3. A group of organisms of the same species, having distinctive characteristics but not usually considered a separate breed or variety.

  4. An artificial variety of a domestic animal or cultivated plant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
strain   (strān)  Pronunciation Key 

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  1. A group of organisms of the same species, sharing certain hereditary characteristics not typical of the entire species but minor enough not to warrant classification as a separate breed or variety. Resistance to specific antibiotics is a feature of certain strains of bacteria.

  2. The extent to which a body is distorted when it is subjected to a deforming force, as when under stress. The distortion can involve a change both in shape and in size. All measures of strain are dimensionless (they have no unit of measure). ◇ Axial strain is equal to the ratio between the change in length of an object and its original length. ◇ Volume strain is equal to the ratio between the change in volume of an object and its original volume. It is also called bulk strain.Shear strain is equal to the ratio between the amount by which an object is skewed and its length. Compare stress. See more at Hooke's law.

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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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