Dictionary > Narrow


1. Of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side; as, a narrow board; a narrow street; a narrow hem. Hath passed in safety through the narrow seas. (Shak)
2. Of little extent; very limited; circumscribed. The jews were but a small nation, and confined to a narrow compass in the world. (bp. Wilkins)
3. Having but a little margin; having barely sufficient space, time, or number, etc.; close; near; with special reference to some peril or misfortune; as, a narrow shot; a narrow escape; a narrow majority.
4. Limited as to means; straitened; pinching; as, narrow circumstances.
5. Contracted; of limited scope; illiberal; bigoted; as, a narrow mind; narrow views. A narrow understanding.
6. Parsimonious; niggardly; covetous; selfish. A very narrow and stinted charity. (Smalridge)
7. Scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact. But first with narrow search I must walk round This garden, and no corner leave unspied. (milton)
8. 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 e (eve) and oo (food), etc, from i (ill) and oo (foot), etc.
Narrow is not unfrequently prefixed to words, especially to participles and adjectives, forming compounds of obvious signification; as, narrow-bordered, narrow-brimmed, narrow-breasted, narrow-edged, narrow-faced, narrow-headed, narrow-leaved, narrow-pointed, narr
ow-souled, narrow-sphered, etc. Narrow gauge.
See note under gauge.
Origin: OE. Narwe, naru, AS. Nearu; akin to OS. Naru, naro.
1. To lessen the breadth of; to contract; to draw into a smaller compass; to reduce the width or extent of.
2. To contract the reach or sphere of; to make less liberal or more selfish; to limit; to confine; to restrict; as, to narrow one’s views or knowledge; to narrow a question in discussion. Our knowledge is much more narrowed if we confine ourselves to our own solitary reasonings. (I. Watts)
3. To contract the size of, as a stocking, by taking two stitches into one.
Origin: AS. Nearwian.

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