synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of narrow in English

English Online Dictionary. What means narrow‎? What does narrow mean?



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).


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈnæɹoʊ/, /ˈnɛɹoʊ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈnæɹəʊ/
  • (Marymarrymerry distinction)
  • (Marymarrymerry merger)
  • Rhymes: -ærəʊ


narrow (comparative narrower, superlative narrowest)

  1. Having a small width; not wide; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth.
  2. Of little extent; very limited; circumscribed.
    • (Can we date this quote by Bishop Wilkins?)
      The Jews were but a small nation, and confined to a narrow compass in the world.
  3. (figuratively) Restrictive; without flexibility or latitude.
  4. Contracted; of limited scope; bigoted
  5. Having a small margin or degree.
  6. (dated) Limited as to means; straitened
    narrow circumstances
  7. Parsimonious; niggardly; covetous; selfish.
    • (Can we date this quote by Smalridge?)
      a very narrow and stinted charity
  8. Scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact.
    • But first with narrow search I must walk round / This garden, and no corner leave unspied.
  9. (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.


  • wide
  • broad

Derived terms

  • narrowboat, narrow boat
  • narrow-minded
  • narrowness



narrow (third-person singular simple present narrows, present participle narrowing, simple past and past participle narrowed)

  1. (transitive) To reduce in width or extent; to contract.
    We need to narrow the search.
  2. (intransitive) To get narrower.
    The road narrows.
  3. (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.
  4. (knitting) To contract the size of, as a stocking, by taking two stitches into one.
  • taper



narrow (plural narrows)

  1. (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
    • Gladstone
      Near the island lay on one side the jaws of a dangerous narrow.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.