From Middle English narow, narowe, narewe, narwe, naru, from Old English nearu (“narrow, strait, confined, constricted, not spacious, limited, petty; limited, poor, restricted; oppressive, causing anxiety (of that which restricts free action of body or mind), causing or accompanied by difficulty, hardship, oppressive; oppressed, not having free action; strict, severe”), from Proto-Germanic *narwaz (“constricted, narrow”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ner- (“to turn, bend, twist, constrict”). Cognate with Scots naro, narow, narrow (“narrow”), North Frisian naar, noar, noor (“narrow”), Saterland Frisian noar (“bleak, dismal, meager, ghastly, unwell”), Saterland Frisian Naarwe (“scar”), West Frisian near (“narrow”), Dutch naar (“dismal, bleak, ill, sick”), Low German naar (“dismal, ghastly”), German Narbe (“scar”), Norwegian norve (“a clip, staple”), Icelandic njörva- (“narrow-”, in compounds).
narrow (comparative narrower, superlative narrowest)
- Having a small width; not wide; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth.
a narrow hallway
1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
She was like a Beardsley Salome, he had said. And indeed she had the narrow eyes and the high cheekbone of that creature, and as nearly the sinuosity as is compatible with human symmetry.
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 14, in The China Governess:
Just under the ceiling there were three lunette windows, heavily barred and blacked out in the normal way by centuries of grime. Their bases were on a level with the pavement outside, a narrow way which was several feet lower than the road behind the house.
2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, in American Scientist:
Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. That’s because the lenses that are excellent at magnifying tiny subjects produce a narrow depth of field. A photo processing technique called focus stacking has changed that.
- Of little extent; very limited; circumscribed.
1675, John Wilkins, Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion:
The Jews were but a small nation, and confined to a narrow compass in the world.
- (figuratively) Restrictive; without flexibility or latitude.
a narrow interpretation
- Contracted; of limited scope; bigoted
a narrow mind
- Having a small margin or degree.
a narrow escape
The Republicans won by a narrow majority.
2011 September 18, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 41-10 Georgia”, in BBC Sport:
As in their narrow defeat of Argentina last week, England were indisciplined at the breakdown, and if Georgian fly-half Merab Kvirikashvili had remembered his kicking boots, Johnson's side might have been behind at half-time.
- (dated) Limited as to means; straitened
- Parsimonious; niggardly; covetous; selfish.
a. 1719, George Smalridge, The Hopes of a Recompense from Men must not be our chief Aim in doing Good:
a very narrow […] and stinted charity
- Scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact.
1667, John Milton, “Book IX”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
But first with narrow search I must walk round / This garden, and no corner leave unspied.
- (phonetics) Formed (as a vowel) by a close position of some part of the tongue in relation to the palate; or (according to Bell) by a tense condition of the pharynx; distinguished from wide.
having small width
- Afrikaans: smal
- Albanian: i ngushtë (sq)
- Arabic: ضَيِّق (ḍayyiq)
- Egyptian Arabic: ضيق m (dayyiʾ)
- Moroccan Arabic: مضيق m (mḍayyaq), مضيقة f (mḍayyaqa)
- Armenian: նեղ (hy) (neł)
- Aromanian: strãmtu, ngustu
- Asturian: estrechu (ast)
- Azerbaijani: dar (az)
- Bashkir: тар (tar)
- Basque: estu (eu)
- Belarusian: ву́зкі (be) (vúzki)
- Bikol Central: hayakpit
- Bulgarian: те́сен (bg) (tésen)
- Burmese: ကျဉ်း (my) (kyany:), ကျဉ်းကျပ် (my) (kyany:kyap)
- Catalan: estret (ca) m, estreta (ca) f, angost
- Chechen: готта (gotta)
- Cherokee: ᏯᏙᏟ (yadotli)
- Cantonese: 窄 (zaak3)
- Mandarin: 窄 (zh) (zhǎi)
- Crimean Tatar: tar
- Czech: úzký (cs) m
- Danish: snæver, tæt, smal (da)
- Dutch: nauw (nl), smal (nl)
- Eshtehardi: تینگ (tinga)
- Esperanto: streta (eo), mallarĝa (eo), malvasta
- Estonian: kitsas (et)
- Farefare: mika
- Faroese: smalur, trongur, trongligur, snævur
- Finnish: kapea (fi)
- French: étroit (fr) m
- Friulian: stret
- Gagauz: dar, дар (dar)
- Galician: estreito (gl), angosto
- Georgian: ვიწრო (vic̣ro)
- German: eng (de), begrenzt (de), schmal (de)
- Gothic: 𐌰𐌲𐌲𐍅𐌿𐍃 (aggwus)
- Greek: στενός (el) m (stenós)
- Ancient: στενός (stenós)
- Haitian Creole: jennen, jis
- Hebrew: צר (he) (tsar)
- Higaonon: malig-ut
- Hindi: तंग (hi) (taṅg)
- Hungarian: szűk (hu), keskeny (hu)
- Icelandic: þröngur (is)
- Indonesian: sempit (id)
- Ingush: готта (gotta)
- Irish: cúng, caol
- Old Irish: cumung, cáel
- Istriot: strento
- Italian: stretto (it) m, angusto (it)
- Japanese: 狭い (ja) (せまい, semái)
- Javanese: sesak (jv)
- Kanakanabu: 'anuupica
- Karachay-Balkar: тар (tar)
- Karaim: tar
- Kazakh: тар (kk) (tar)
- Khakas: тар (tar)
- Khmer: ចង្អៀត (km) (cɑŋʔiet)
- Korean: 좁은 (ko) (jobeun), 좁다 (ko) (jopda)
- Central Kurdish: تەسک (ku) (tesk)
- Kumyk: тар (tar)
- Kyrgyz: тар (ky) (tar)
- Lao: ຄັບ (lo) (khap)
- Latgalian: šaurs
- Latin: angustus, artus
- Latvian: šaurs
- Limburgish: nej (li), smaal (li)
- Lithuanian: siauras
- Macedonian: тесен (tesen)
- Maguindanao: magaget
- Malay: sempit (ms)
- Malayalam: please add this translation if you can
- Maltese: dojoq
- Middle English: narwe
- Mizo: zím
- Mongolian: нарийн (mn) (nariin)
- Ngazidja Comorian: -samivu
- Nogai: тар (tar)
- Norman: êtrait
- Bokmål: smal (no), trang (no)
- Nynorsk: smal, trong
- Occitan: estreit (oc) m, estrech (oc) m
- Old Church Slavonic:
- Cyrillic: ѫзъкъ (ǫzŭkŭ)
- Glagolitic: ⱘⰸⱏⰽⱏ (ǫzŭkŭ)
- Old East Slavic: узъкъ (uzŭkŭ)
- Ossetian: нарӕг (naræg)
- Persian: تنگ (fa) (tang)
- Plautdietsch: schmaul, enj
- Polish: wąski (pl) m, cienki (pl)
- Portuguese: estreito (pt) m, estreita (pt) f
- Quechua: kicki
- Rapa Nui: rikiriki, vakavaka
- Romanian: strâmt (ro), îngust (ro)
- Romansch: stretg
- Russian: у́зкий (ru) m (úzkij), те́сный (ru) (tésnyj)
- Rusyn: узкый m (uzkŷj)
- Sanskrit: अंहु (sa) (aṃhu)
- Sardinian: istrintu, strintu
- Scottish Gaelic: caol, cumhang
- Cyrillic: у̏зак, уски
- Roman: ȕzak (sh), uski
- Shor: тар
- Sicilian: strittu (scn)
- Slovak: úzky (sk)
- Slovene: ozek (sl)
- Lower Sorbian: wuski, huzki
- Southern Altai: та́р (tár)
- Spanish: estrecho (es), angosto (es)
- Swedish: trång (sv), smal (sv), (long and narrow) långsmal (sv)
- Tabasaran: дар (dar)
- Tajik: танг (tang)
- Tamil: குறுகிய (ta) (kuṟukiya)
- Tatar: тыгыз (tığız) ,тар (tar)
- Telugu: ఇరుకైన (te) (irukaina), సన్నని (sannani)
- Tetum: kloot
- Thai: แคบ (th) (kɛ̂ɛp)
- Tofa: тар
- Turkish: dar (tr)
- Turkmen: dar
- Tuvan: тар (tar)
- Ukrainian: ву́зький, вузьки́й (vúzʹkyj, vuzʹkýj)
- Urdu: تنگ (taṅg)
- Uyghur: تار (tar)
- Uzbek: tor (uz)
- Venetian: streto, stret, strento, strent
- Vietnamese: hẹp (vi), chật hẹp, eo hẹp (vi), chật (vi)
- Walloon: stroet (wa) m, stroete f
- Welsh: cul (cy)
- West Frisian: smel
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: meliɣet
- Westrobothnian: snjev
- Yakut: кыараҕас (kıarağas), синньигэс (sinńiges)
- Yiddish: ענג (eng), שמאָל (shmol)
- Zazaki: teng (diq)
- Zealandic: smal
of little extent; very limited; circumscribed
restrictive; without flexibility or latitude
contracted; of limited scope; illiberal; bigoted.
having a small margin or degree
limited as to means; straitened; pinching
scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact
phonetics: formed (as a vowel) by a close position of some part of the tongue in relation to the palate
narrow (plural narrows)
- (chiefly in the plural) A narrow passage, especially a contracted part of a stream, lake, or sea; a strait connecting two bodies of water.
the narrows of New York harbor
- 1858, William Gladstone, Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age
- Near the island lay on one side the jaws of a dangerous narrow.
From Middle English narwen (“to narrow”); see there for more details, but ultimately derived from the noun.
narrow (third-person singular simple present narrows, present participle narrowing, simple past and past participle narrowed)
- (transitive) To reduce in width or extent; to contract.
We need to narrow the search.
- (intransitive) To get narrower.
The road narrows.
- (of a person or eyes) To partially lower one's eyelids in a way usually taken to suggest a defensive, aggressive or penetrating look.
He stepped in front of me, narrowing his eyes to slits.
She wagged her finger in his face, and her eyes narrowed.
- (knitting) To contract the size of, as a stocking, by taking two stitches into one.
- (transitive, programming) To convert to a data type that cannot hold as many distinct values.
- Antonym: widen
to narrow an
int variable to a
to reduce in width or extent