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From Middle English strawen, from Old English strēaw, from Proto-Germanic *strawą (that which is strewn). Cognate with Dutch stro, Walloon strin, German Stroh, Norwegian and 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.
    • 1889, Robin Hood and the Tanner, Francis James Child (editor), The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Volume 3, page 138:
      ‘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


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


straw (not comparable)

  1. Made of straw.
    straw hat
  2. Of a pale, yellowish beige colour, like that of a dried straw.
  3. (figuratively) Imaginary, but presented as real.
    A straw enemy built up in the media to seem like a real threat, which then collapses like a balloon.


Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit