A strait is a narrow sea channel or a difficult situation — remember that both are difficult to navigate. If you're stranded on a strait off the Black Sea, you might also say that you're in dire straits.

The noun strait comes from the Latin word strictus, meaning "to bind or draw tight." Whether you're describing a narrow passage of water or a tricky situation, a strait will make you feel like you're in tight quarters. You might be familiar with the term "dire straits," which refers an urgent or drastic situation. If all the dorms are overbooked for the fall semester and the off-campus apartments are all rented, you might find yourself in dire straits.

Definitions of strait
  1. noun
    a narrow channel of the sea joining two larger bodies of water
    synonyms: sound
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    Canakkale Bogazi
    the strait between the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey
    East River
    a tidal strait separating Manhattan and the Bronx from Queens and Brooklyn
    Bering Strait
    a strait connecting the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean
    a strait connecting the Mediterranean and the Black Sea; separates the European and Asian parts of Turkey; an important shipping route
    Cook Strait
    a narrow strait separating the North Island and South Island in New Zealand
    Golden Gate
    a strait in western California that connects the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean; discovered in 1579 by Sir Francis Drake
    a strait of the North Sea between Jutland and Sweden; connects with the North Sea through the Skagerrak
    Korean Strait
    a strait between Korea and Japan; connects the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan
    Menai Strait
    a strait in northern Wales between Anglesey Island and the mainland
    North Channel
    a strait between Northern Ireland and Scotland that connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea
    a broad strait of the North Sea between Jutland and Norway
    a strait of the English Channel between the coast of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
    Strait of Georgia
    the strait separating Vancouver Island from the Canadian mainland
    Strait of Gibraltar
    the strait between Spain and Africa
    Strait of Hormuz
    a strategically important strait linking the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman
    Strait of Magellan
    the strait separating South America from Tierra del Fuego and other islands to the south of the continent; discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520; an important route around South America before the Panama Canal was built
    Strait of Messina
    the strait separating Sicily from the tip of Italy
    Strait of Calais
    the strait between the English Channel and the North Sea; shortest distance between England and the European continent
    Torres Strait
    a strait between northeastern Australia and southern New Guinea that connects the Coral Sea with the Arafura Sea
    Verrazano Narrows
    a narrow channel of water separating Staten Island and Brooklyn
    a narrow strait connecting two bodies of water
    type of:
    a deep and relatively narrow body of water (as in a river or a harbor or a strait linking two larger bodies) that allows the best passage for vessels
  2. adjective
    strait is the gate”
    not wide
  3. noun
    a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs
    synonyms: pass, straits
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    desperate straits, dire straits
    a state of extreme distress
    type of:
    a complex or critical or unusual difficulty
Word Family
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