Origin of English word STRAIT

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







[TS-R → ST-R]


STRAIT is from Middle English streit and Old French estreit. Convinced that   most roads must lead to Rome, the dictionaries take us on a circuitous route to Latin strictus, the past perfect of stringere (to draw tight or to bind tightly).

  צרור TSaROOR is tied up or bound (Exodus12:34). STRAIT or STRAITS is a narrow strip of land or מצר  MayTSahR (isthmus).   מצר    MayTSahR also means DISTRESS; STRESS is a fine definition for  צרות TSaROO(S) or  TSaROAT (pressing troubles – see STRESS). The emotional tight squeezes are taken up at SORE, but here we are concerned with  צרות TSaROOT (narrowness). צר  TSahR is narrow; it forms the two-letter Hebrew root, and it clarifies most Indo-European “root”s with an STR. The Indo-European “root” of STRAIT is streig (to stroke, rub, press).

STR STRICTURE and RESTRICTION can be seen in other fricative-liquids and liquid fricatives.   צור TSOOR is to bind up (Deuteronomy 14:25);  אסור    A$OOR is one put in fetters (Judges 16: 21);  קשר   QaSHaR is to make tight (Genesis 30:42), to bind or tie (Genesis 38:28). Stretching out to another set of liquid-fricative and fricative-liquid binders,  ארז   ARahZ is fimly bound, packed  (Ezekiel 27:24)  and   אזר AZahR is to bind (Jeremiah 1:17 – see  RICE).   

 For a fricative-liquid built-in opposite, in Exodus 3:5 Moses is told to  של SHahL  (remove or loosen) his sandals – see  LOOSE. 


The irrelevant meaning of the given Indo-European “root” notwithstanding, many of the cognate words listed here concern straightness and narrowness. On the same string as STRAIT, from Latin stringere, are ASTRINGE, CONSTRAIN, DISTRAIN, PRESTIGE, RESTRICT, STRICT, STRIGIL, and STRINGENT. The next root over is strenk (tight, narrow). Listed here are STRANGLE, STRANGULATE, STRENGTH, STRING and STRONG. Strait in Spanish is estrecho.

Webster's Indo-European base ster (to be stiff, rigid) includes STRETCH (see STRETCH) and STRIDE, terms not included in the AHD's similar Indo-European “root” mentioned at STREET   In French forms of Tsadi-Resh STRICTURE,  there is serre   (tight) and  serer (to tighten).  Besides S-R  French words like resserre (narrow, straight, tight), Tsadi-Resh is also behind T-R words like etroit  (narrow) --  behind the naming of DETROIT, Michigan.  Resserrer is French for “to tie or bind again or tighter.”  TSiROAR, Tsadi-Resh-Vav-Resh is a tied bundle (Genesis  42:35).


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