straits


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strait

 (strāt)
n. often straits
1. A narrow channel joining two larger bodies of water: straits that were treacherous; the Strait of Gibraltar; the Bosporus Straits.
2. A position of difficulty, perplexity, distress, or need: in desperate straits.
adj. Archaic
1.
a. Difficult; stressful.
b. Having or marked by limited funds or resources.
2.
a. Narrow or confined.
b. Fitting tightly; constricted.
3. Strict, rigid, or righteous.

[Middle English streit, narrow, a strait, from Old French estreit, tight, narrow, from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere, to draw tight; see streig- in Indo-European roots.]

strait′ly adv.
strait′ness n.

straits

(streɪts)
pl n
to be in dire straits to be in desperate straits to be in a position of acute difficulty
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.straits - a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs
desperate straits, dire straits - a state of extreme distress
situation - a complex or critical or unusual difficulty; "the dangerous situation developed suddenly"; "that's quite a situation"; "no human situation is simple"
2.straits - a difficult juncture; "a pretty pass"; "matters came to a head yesterday"
juncture, occasion - an event that occurs at a critical time; "at such junctures he always had an impulse to leave"; "it was needed only on special occasions"
References in classic literature ?
But no matter in what straits the Pennsylvanian or Virginian found himself, he would not let his daughters go out into service.
At the foot they found the Narragansetts browsing the herbage of the bushes, and having mounted, they followed the movements of a guide, who, in the most deadly straits, had so often proved himself their friend.
Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly coast of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar.
This rampart is pierced by several sally-ports for the convenience of ships and whales; conspicuous among which are the straits of Sunda and Malacca.
No tear dropped over that pillow; in such straits as these, the heart has no tears to give,--it drops only blood, bleeding itself away in silence.
In the second place, the ebb was now making--a strong rippling current running westward through the basin, and then south'ard and seaward down the straits by which we had entered in the morning.
The treasurer was of the same opinion: he showed to what straits his majesty's revenue was reduced, by the charge of maintaining you, which would soon grow insupportable; that the secretary's expedient of putting out your eyes, was so far from being a remedy against this evil, that it would probably increase it, as is manifest from the common practice of blinding some kind of fowls, after which they fed the faster, and grew sooner fat; that his sacred majesty and the council, who are your judges, were, in their own consciences, fully convinced of your guilt, which was a sufficient argument to condemn you to death, without the formal proofs required by the strict letter of the law.
Nevertheless, by the time I had buried the last of my companions my stock of provisions was so small that I hardly thought I should live long enough to dig my own grave, which I set about doing, while I regretted bitterly the roving disposition which was always bringing me into such straits, and thought longingly of all the comfort and luxury that I had left.
It was the advice of some of them to throw us all into the sea wrapped up in a sail; for their purpose was to trade at some of the ports of Spain, giving themselves out as Bretons, and if they brought us alive they would be punished as soon as the robbery was discovered; but the captain (who was the one who had plundered my beloved Zoraida) said he was satisfied with the prize he had got, and that he would not touch at any Spanish port, but pass the Straits of Gibraltar by night, or as best he could, and make for La Rochelle, from which he had sailed.
Finishing my man with almost no effort, as had now from much practice become habitual with me, I hastened to return to my new acquaintance whom I found indeed in desperate straits.
I am, I know, either being deceived, like a baby, by my own fears, or else I am in desperate straits, and if the latter be so, I need, and shall need, all my brains to get through.
We had crossed the tropic of Capricorn, and the Straits of Magellan opened less than seven hundred miles to the south.