1. A stalk or stem of certain species of grain, pulse, etc, especially of wheat, rye, oats, barley, more rarely of buckwheat, beans, and pease.
2. The gathered and thrashed stalks of certain species of grain, etc.; as, a bundle, or a load, of rye straw.
3. Anything proverbially worthless; the least possible thing; a mere trifle. I set not a straw by thy dreamings. (Chaucer)
Straw is often used in the formation of self-explaining compounds; as, straw-built, straw-crowned, straw-roofed, straw-stuffed, and the like. Man of straw, an effigy formed by stuffing the garments of a man with straw; hence, a fictitious person; an irresponsible person; a puppet. Straw bail, worthless bail, as being given by irresponsible persons. Straw bid, a worthless bid; a bid for a contract which the bidder is unable or unwilling to fulfill.
(Science: zoology) Straw cat, the pampas cat. Straw colour, the colour of dry straw, being a delicate yellow. Straw drain, a drain filled with straw. Straw plait, or Straw plat, a strip formed by plaiting straws, used for making hats, bonnets, etc. To be in the straw, to be brought to bed, as a pregnant woman.
Origin: OE. Straw, stre, stree, AS. Streaw, from the root of E. Strew; akin to OFries. Stre, D. Stroo, G. Stroh, OHG. Stro, Icel. Stra, Dan. Straa, Sw. Stra. 166. See Strew.