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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
a. Difficult; stressful.
b. Having or marked by limited funds or resources.
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straitly looked after!
King Phoebus bids us straitly extirpate A fell pollution that infests the land, And no more harbor an inveterate sore.
THESEUS My children, he Charged me straitly that no moral Should approach the sacred portal, Or greet with funeral litanies The hidden tomb wherein he lies; Saying, "If thou keep'st my hest Thou shalt hold thy realm at rest." The God of Oaths this promise heard, And to Zeus I pledged my word.