AskDefine | Define straits

Dictionary Definition



1 a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs [syn: pass, strait]
2 a difficult juncture; "a pretty pass"; "matters came to a head yesterday" [syn: pass, head]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of strait

Extensive Definition

A strait is a narrow, navigable channel of water that connects two larger navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not navigable, for example because it is too shallow, or because it contains an unnavigable reef or archipelago. The terms strait, channel, passage, sound, and firth can be synonymous and interchangeable, although each is sometimes differentiated with varying senses. Many straits are economically important. Straits can lie on important shipping routes, and wars have been fought for control of these straits. Numerous artificial channels, called canals, have been constructed to connect two bodies of water over land.
Although rivers and canals often form a bridge between two large lakes or a lake and a sea, and these seem to suit the formal definition of straits, they are not usually referred to as straits. Straits are typically much larger, wider structures.
Straits are the duals of isthmi. That is, while straits lie between two land masses and connect two larger bodies of water, isthmi lie between two bodies of water and connect two larger land masses.
A strait is similar to an inlet although inlets typically pass through island land masses usually from a large body of water such as an ocean to a much smaller body such as a bay while straits pass through much larger land masses and connect much larger bodies of water such as seas and oceans.

Well-known straits

Well-known straits in the world include:

See also

straits in Afrikaans: Seestraat
straits in Arabic: مضيق
straits in Breton: Strizh-mor
straits in Bulgarian: Проток
straits in Catalan: Estret
straits in Czech: Průliv
straits in Welsh: Culfor
straits in Danish: Stræde (farvand)
straits in German: Meerenge
straits in Estonian: Väin
straits in Modern Greek (1453-): Πορθμός
straits in Spanish: Estrecho
straits in Esperanto: Markolo
straits in Persian: تنگه
straits in French: Détroit
straits in Korean: 해협
straits in Croatian: Tjesnac
straits in Ido: Stretajo
straits in Indonesian: Selat
straits in Ossetian: Донкъубал
straits in Icelandic: Sund
straits in Italian: Stretto
straits in Hebrew: מצר
straits in Swahili (macrolanguage): Mlango wa bahari
straits in Kurdish: Tengav
straits in Latin: Fretum
straits in Hungarian: Szoros
straits in Dutch: Zeestraat
straits in Japanese: 海峡
straits in Polish: Cieśnina
straits in Portuguese: Estreito
straits in Russian: Пролив
straits in Slovenian: Ožina
straits in Finnish: Salmi
straits in Swedish: Sund
straits in Vietnamese: Eo biển
straits in Ukrainian: Протока
straits in Chinese: 海峡

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

arm, armlet, bay, bayou, belt, bight, bind, boca, broken fortune, clutch, complication, cove, creek, crunch, difficulties, distress, embarrassing position, embarrassment, estuary, euripus, fine how-do-you-do, fjord, frith, genteel poverty, gulf, gut, harbor, hard pinch, hardship, hell to pay, hobble, hot water, how-do-you-do, imbroglio, impecuniosity, impecuniousness, inlet, insolvency, jam, kyle, light purse, loch, mess, mix, morass, mouth, narrow, narrow means, narrow seas, narrows, natural harbor, parlous straits, pass, pickle, pinch, plight, poorness, poverty, predicament, pretty pass, pretty pickle, pretty predicament, quagmire, quicksand, reach, road, roads, roadstead, scrape, slender means, slough, sound, spot, squeeze, stew, sticky wicket, strait, straitened circumstances, swamp, tight spot, tight squeeze, tightrope, tricky spot, unholy mess, unprosperousness, voluntary poverty, vows of poverty
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