straw

straw (n.) O.E. streaw "stems or stalks of certain cereals," lit. "that which is scattered or strewn," related to streowian (see STREW (Cf. strew)), from P.Gmc. *strawam "that which is scattered" (Cf. O.N. stra, Dan. straa, Swed. strô, O.Fris. stre, O.Du., O.H.G. stro, Ger. Stroh "straw"), from PIE *stere- "to spread" (see STRUCTURE (Cf. structure)). The notion is of dried grain stalks strewn on a floor as carpeting or bedding. As a type of what is trifling or unimportant, attested from late 13c. Meaning "hollow tube through which a drink is sucked" is recorded from 1851.
To draw straws as a means of deciding something is recorded from 1832. The last straw is from the proverb of the camel. Straw poll is from 1932; earlier straw vote (1866). Straw hat first attested mid-15c. To clutch (or grasp or catch) at straws (1748) is what a drowning man proverbially would do.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Synonyms:
, (of grain after being thrashed) / , , , , , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Straw — is an agricultural by product, the dry of a cereal plant, after the grain or seed has been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat. In times gone by, it was regarded as a useful by …   Wikipedia

  • Straw — Straw, n. [OE. straw, stre, stree, AS. stre[ a]w, from the root of E. strew; akin to OFries. str[=e], D. stroo, G. stroh, OHG. str[=o], Icel. str[=a], Dan. straa, Sw. str[*a]. [root]166. See {Strew}.] 1. A stalk or stem of certain species of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • straw — S3 [stro: US stro:] n [: Old English; Origin: streaw] 1.) a) [U] the dried stems of wheat or similar plants that animals sleep on, and that are used for making things such as baskets, hats etc →↑hay ▪ a straw hat b) a single dried stem of stra …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • straw — [strô] n. [ME stra < OE streaw, akin to streawian: see STREW] 1. hollow stalks or stems of grain after threshing, collectively: used for fodder, for bedding, for making hats, etc. 2. a single one of such stalks 3. such a stalk or, now esp., a… …   English World dictionary

  • straw — [ strɔ ] noun ** 1. ) uncount the yellow stems of dried crops such as wheat: bales of straw a straw hat 2. ) count a long thin paper or plastic tube that you use for drinking clutch/grasp at straws to try to find anything at all that will help… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • straw — straw; straw·berry; straw·ber·ry·ing; straw·en; straw·ish; straw·less; win·dle·straw; …   English syllables

  • straw — ► NOUN 1) dried stalks of grain, used as fodder or for thatching, packing, or weaving. 2) a single dried stalk of grain. 3) a thin hollow tube of paper or plastic for sucking drink from a container. 4) a pale yellow colour. ● clutch at straws Cf …   English terms dictionary

  • Straw — ist der Name folgender Personen: Ezekiel A. Straw (1819–1882), US amerikanischer Politiker Jack Straw (* 1946), britischer Politiker der Labour Party Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselb …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • straw|y — «STR ee», adjective. 1. of, containing, or like straw. 2. strewn or thatched with straw …   Useful english dictionary

  • Straw — Straw, v. t. To spread or scatter. See {Strew}, and {Strow}. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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