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Strain, vb. 1) tr. a) to press, to squeeze: “our king has all the Indies in his arms, and more and richer, when he --s that lady,” H8 IV, 1, 46.
b) to extend, to stretch: “I am to pray you not to s. my speech to grosser issues nor to larger reach than to suspicion,” Oth. III, 3, 218. Absol.: “you s. too far,” H4A IV, 1, 75 (you go too far in your apprehensions).
c) to exert, to ply hard, to put to the utmost strength: “to strange sores strangely they s. the cure,” Ado IV, 1, 254. “my breast I'll burst with --ing of my courage,” H6A I, 5, 10. “our hope in him is dead: let us return, and s. what other means is left unto us,” Tim. V, 1, 230. “he sweats, --s his young nerves,” Cymb. III, 3, 94. to s. courtesy == to insist on the precedence of others, to decline to go first: “they all s. courtesy who shall cope him first,” Ven. 888; and hence == to remain behind: “my business was great; and in such a case as mine a man may s. courtesy,” Rom. II, 4, 55. Partic. --ed == excessive: “this --ed passion doth you wrong,” H4B I, 1, 161. “with --ed pride to come between our sentence and our power,” Lr. I, 1, 172 (Qq strayed).
d) to urge: “note, if your lady s. his entertainment with any strong or vehement importunity,” Oth. III, 3, 250.
e) to wrench; to force, to constrain: “s. their cheeks to idle merriment,” John III, 3, 46. “nor aught so good but --ed from that fair use revolts from true birth,” Rom. II, 3, 19. “it --s me past the compass of my wits,” IV, 1, 47. Partic. --ed == forced, constrained: “what --ed touches rhetoric can lend,” Sonn. 82, 10. “on what compulsion must I? The quality of mercy is not --ed,” Merch. IV, 1, 184.
f) to filter: “I at each sad strain will s. a tear,” Lucr. 1131. “I love thee in so --ed a purity,” Troil. IV, 4, 26 (Ff strange). “faith and troth, --ed purely from all hollow bias-drawing,” IV, 5, 169.
g) to tune (?): “it is the lark that sings so out of tune, --ing harsh discords,” Rom. III, 5, 28.
2) intr. to make efforts, to exert one's self: “more --ing on for plucking back,” Wint. IV, 4, 476 (like a hound in the leash). “like greyhounds in the slips, --ing upon the start,” H5 III, 1, 32. “to build his fortune I will s. a little,” Tim. I, 1, 143. “I do not s. at the position, -- it is familiar, -- but at the author's drift,” Troil. III, 3, 112 (I do not put my brains on the rack; I see no difficulty in the position. cf. subst. “Strain” Troil. III, 3, 112 Ff s. it at). Remarkable expression: “with what encounter so uncurrent I have --ed to appear thus,” Wint. III, 2, 51 (perhaps == brought about, contrived. Dyce: with what unwarrantable familiarity of intercourse I have so far exceeded bounds, or gone astray, that I should be forced to appear thus in a public court as a criminal. -- Collier strayed, Johnson have I been stained).*
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