Last modified on 22 March 2015, at 10:47



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From Old English strēaw, from Proto-Germanic *strawą ‘that which is strewn’. Cognate with Dutch stro, German Stroh, Swedish strå, Albanian strohë (kennel).



straw (countable and uncountable, plural straws)

  1. (countable) A dried stalk of a cereal plant.
  2. (uncountable) Such dried stalks considered collectively.
  3. (countable) A drinking straw.
  4. a pale, yellowish beige colour, like that of a dried straw.
    straw colour:    
  5. (figuratively) Anything proverbially worthless; the least possible thing.
    • XIX c., recorded by Francis James Child, Robin Hood and the Tanner
      ‘For thy sword and thy bow I care not a straw,
      Nor all thine arrows to boot;
      If I get a knop upon thy bare scop,
      Thou canst as well shite as shoote.’
    • 1857, Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers:
      He also decided, which was more to his purpose, that Eleanor did not care a straw for him, and that very probably she did care a straw for his rival.
    • 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque:
      To be deeply interested in the accidents of our existence, to enjoy keenly the mixed texture of human experience, rather leads a man to disregard precautions, and risk his neck against a straw.

Derived termsEdit


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straw (not comparable)

  1. Made of straw.
    straw hat
  2. Of a pale, yellowish beige colour, like that of a dried straw.


Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit