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1 definition found
 for To strain courtesy
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Strain \Strain\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Strained; p. pr. & vb. n.
     Straining.] [OF. estraindre, estreindre, F. ['e]treindre,
     L. stringere to draw or bind tight; probably akin to Gr. ? a
     halter, ? that which is squeezwd out, a drop, or perhaps to
     E. strike. Cf. Strangle, Strike, Constrain, District,
     Strait, a. Stress, Strict, Stringent.]
     1. To draw with force; to extend with great effort; to
        stretch; as, to strain a rope; to strain the shrouds of a
        ship; to strain the cords of a musical instrument. "To
        strain his fetters with a stricter care." --Dryden.
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     2. (Mech.) To act upon, in any way, so as to cause change of
        form or volume, as forces on a beam to bend it.
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     3. To exert to the utmost; to ply vigorously.
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              He sweats,
              Strains his young nerves.             --Shak.
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              They strain their warbling throats
              To welcome in the spring.             --Dryden.
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     4. To stretch beyond its proper limit; to do violence to, in
        the matter of intent or meaning; as, to strain the law in
        order to convict an accused person.
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              There can be no other meaning in this expression,
              however some may pretend to strain it. --Swift.
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     5. To injure by drawing, stretching, or the exertion of
        force; as, the gale strained the timbers of the ship.
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     6. To injure in the muscles or joints by causing to make too
        strong an effort; to harm by overexertion; to sprain; as,
        to strain a horse by overloading; to strain the wrist; to
        strain a muscle.
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              Prudes decayed about may track,
              Strain their necks with looking back. --Swift.
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     7. To squeeze; to press closely.
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              Evander with a close embrace
              Strained his departing friend.        --Dryden.
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     8. To make uneasy or unnatural; to produce with apparent
        effort; to force; to constrain.
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              He talks and plays with Fatima, but his mirth
              Is forced and strained.               --Denham.
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              The quality of mercy is not strained. --Shak.
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     9. To urge with importunity; to press; as, to strain a
        petition or invitation.
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              Note, if your lady strain his entertainment. --Shak.
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     10. To press, or cause to pass, through a strainer, as
         through a screen, a cloth, or some porous substance; to
         purify, or separate from extraneous or solid matter, by
         filtration; to filter; as, to strain milk through cloth.
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     To strain a point, to make a special effort; especially, to
        do a degree of violence to some principle or to one's own
     To strain courtesy, to go beyond what courtesy requires; to
        insist somewhat too much upon the precedence of others; --
        often used ironically. --Shak.
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