from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of small or limited width, especially in comparison with length.
  • adj. Limited in area or scope; cramped.
  • adj. Lacking flexibility; rigid: narrow opinions.
  • adj. Barely sufficient; close: a narrow margin of victory.
  • adj. Painstakingly thorough or attentive; meticulous: narrow scrutiny.
  • adj. Linguistics Tense.
  • transitive v. To reduce in width or extent; make narrower.
  • transitive v. To limit or restrict: narrowed the possibilities down to three.
  • intransitive v. To become narrower; contract.
  • n. A part of little width, as a pass through mountains.
  • n. A body of water with little width that connects two larger bodies of water.
  • n. A part of a river or an ocean current that is not wide.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. having a small width; not wide; slim; slender; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth.
  • adj. Restrictive; without flexibility or latitude.
  • adj. Having a small margin or degree.
  • v. To reduce in width or extent; to contract.
  • v. To get narrower.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side
  • adj. Of little extent; very limited; circumscribed.
  • adj. Having but a little margin; having barely sufficient space, time, or number, etc.; close; near{5}; -- with special reference to some peril or misfortune
  • adj. Limited as to means; straitened; pinching.
  • adj. Contracted; of limited scope; illiberal; bigoted
  • adj. Parsimonious; niggardly; covetous; selfish.
  • adj. Scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact.
  • adj. 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; as ē (ēve) and � (f�d), etc., from ĭ (ĭll) and � (f�t), etc. See Guide to Pronunciation, §13.
  • n. A narrow passage; esp., a contracted part of a stream, lake, or sea; a strait connecting two bodies of water; -- usually in the plural.
  • intransitive v. To become less broad; to contract; to become narrower.
  • intransitive v. Not to step out enough to the one hand or the other.
  • intransitive v. To contract the size of a stocking or other knit article, by taking two stitches into one.
  • transitive v. To lessen the breadth of; to contract; to draw into a smaller compass; to reduce the width or extent of.
  • transitive v. To contract the reach or sphere of; to make less liberal or more selfish; to limit; to confine; to restrict
  • transitive v. To contract the size of, as a stocking, by taking two stitches into one.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of little width or breadth; measuring relatively little from side to side; not wide or broad: as, a narrow channel or passage; a narrow ribbon.
  • Limited as regards extent, resources, means, sentiment, mental view, scope, individual disposition, or habits, etc.
  • Straitened; limited; impoverished: as, narrow fortune.
  • Contracted; lacking breadth or liberality of view; illiberal; bigoted.
  • Niggardly; avaricious; covetous.
  • Close; bare; so small or close as to be almost inadequate; barely sufficient: as, a narrow majority or escape (that is, a majority so small or an escape so close as almost to fail of being a majority or an escape).
  • Close; near; accurate; scrutinizing; careful; minute.
  • Restricted or brief, with reference to time.
  • Synonyms and Cramped, pinched, scanty, mean.
  • n. A strait; a narrow passage through a mountain, or a narrow channel of water between one sea or lake and another; a sound; any contracted part of a navigable river or harbor: used chiefly in the plural: as, the Narrows at the entrance of New York harbor.
  • n. A contracted part of an ocean current: usually in the plural: as, the narrows of the Gulf Stream at the south point of Florida.
  • n. plural In coal-mining, roadways or galleries driven at right angles to drifts, and smaller than these in section.
  • Narrowly.
  • To make narrow or contracted; reduce in breadth or scope: as, to narrow one's sphere of action.
  • Specifically In knitting, to reduce the number of stitches of: opposed to widen: as, to narrow a stocking at the toe.
  • To become narrow, literally or figuratively.
  • In the manège, to take less than the proper ground in stepping, or bear out insufficiently to the one hand or the other: said of a horse.
  • In knitting, to reduce the number of stitches, either by knitting two together or by slipping one and binding it over the next: as, when you reach this point you must narrow.
  • See nary.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not wide
  • n. a narrow strait connecting two bodies of water
  • adj. lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view
  • v. make or become more narrow or restricted
  • v. define clearly
  • v. become more focus on an area of activity or field of study
  • v. become tight or as if tight
  • adj. very limited in degree
  • adj. characterized by painstaking care and detailed examination
  • adj. limited in size or scope


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English narwe, from Old English nearu.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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"), West Frisian near ("narrow"), Dutch naar ("dismal, bleak, ill, sick"), Low German naar ("dismal, ghastly"), German Narbe ("a closed wound, scar"), Norwegian norve ("a clip, staple"), Icelandic njörva- ("narrow-", in compounds).


  • "David, you are _not_ big; you are narrow, narrow, _narrow_!

    The Grafters

  • But to keep the definition narrow was the original compromise ... without which an agreement wouldn't have been possible, Tripathi said.

    Reuters: Top News

  • But they do not want to get trapped in what they call a narrow strategy.

    CNN Transcript Oct 8, 2008

  • It sounds like he just sort of grabbed on and whooshed down the tunnel—what we call the narrow path—right along with you.

    Night World No. 2

  • For it is ever the temptation of young life to think lightly of their father's wisdom, and to despise what they call the narrow religious beliefs, and the careful moral scruples of the old, and to fancy that they know all things so much better than those who have gone before.

    Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known Characters

  • He critiqued the U.S. media for what he described as a narrow vision that does not include much international news.

  • Germany is demanding what it describes as a "narrow" revision of the Lisbon treaty to ensure new fiscal rules for the eurozone are placed on a legal basis.

    The Guardian World News

  • Farhat has repeatedly tried to bypass what he calls a "narrow view" of the Internet by the Ministry of Telecommunications.

    Reuters: Press Release

  • In this case the translation of the English word narrow to German.

    KDE UserBase - Recent changes [en]

  • School of Management professor Douglas Rae, a former city chief administrative officer, criticizes the Board of Aldermen for pursuing what he calls narrow-minded measures rather than policies beneficial to the entire city.

    Yale Daily News: Latest Issue


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A narrow word, having none of the letters projecting above or below the line. Two of the longest such words are overnervousness and overnumerousness (and their plurals).

    December 1, 2007