a. Stalks of threshed grain, used as bedding and food for animals, for thatching, and for weaving or braiding, as into baskets.
b. A single stalk of threshed grain.
2. Pieces or a piece of natural or artificial strawlike material.
3. Something, such as a hat or basket, made of straw.
4. A slender tube used for sucking up a liquid.
a. Something of minimal value or importance.
b. The least valuable bit; a jot: I don't care a straw what you think.
c. Something with too little substance to provide support in a crisis: Near the end we were grasping at straws.
1. Of, relating to, or made of straw: a straw mat.
2. Containing or used for straw, as a barn or feeding trough.
3. Of the color of straw; yellowish.
a. Of, relating to, or constituting a straw man.
b. Apparently legitimate but actually intended as a cover for illegal or secret activity: set up a straw company to launder money.
The final annoyance or setback, which even though minor makes one no longer able to endure something.
straw in the wind
A slight hint of something to come.
[Middle English, from Old English strēaw; see ster-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.