TRY HARD [I, T] › to try hard to do something, usually to see or hear something: [+ to do sth] I had to strain to hear the music. INJURE [T] › to injure part of your body by using it too much: I think I've strained a muscle. CAUSE PROBLEMS [T] › to cause problems for a situation or relationship: The incident has strained relations between the two countries. MONEY [T] › to cause too much of something to be used, especially money: The war is straining the defence budget. SEPARATE [T] › to separate solids from a liquid by pouring the mixture into a container with small holes in it: Strain the sauce to remove the seeds and skins.