What does narrow mean?

Definitions for narrow
ˈnær oʊnar·row

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word narrow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. narrowadjective

    a narrow strait connecting two bodies of water

  2. narrowadjective

    not wide

    "a narrow bridge"; "a narrow line across the page"

  3. narrowadjective

    limited in size or scope

    "the narrow sense of a word"

  4. narrow-minded, narrowadjective

    lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view

    "a brilliant but narrow-minded judge"; "narrow opinions"

  5. narrowadjective

    very limited in degree

    "won by a narrow margin"; "a narrow escape"

  6. minute, narrowverb

    characterized by painstaking care and detailed examination

    "a minute inspection of the grounds"; "a narrow scrutiny"; "an exact and minute report"

  7. narrow, contractverb

    make or become more narrow or restricted

    "The selection was narrowed"; "The road narrowed"

  8. pin down, peg down, nail down, narrow down, narrow, specifyverb

    define clearly

    "I cannot narrow down the rules for this game"

  9. specialize, specialise, narrow, narrow downverb

    become more focus on an area of activity or field of study

    "She specializes in Near Eastern history"

  10. constrict, constringe, narrowverb

    become tight or as if tight

    "Her throat constricted"


  1. narrowverb

    To reduce in width or extent; to contract.

    We need to narrow the search.

  2. narrowverb

    To get narrower.

    The road narrows.

  3. narrowadjective

    having a small width; not wide; slim; slender; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth.

    a narrow hallway

  4. narrowadjective

    Restrictive; without flexibility or latitude.

    a narrow interpretation

  5. Etymology: Old English nearu

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. NARROWadjective

    Etymology: nearu , Saxon, from nyr , near.

    Edward from Belgia,
    Hath pass’d in safety thro’ the narrow seas. William Shakespeare.

    The Angel stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. Numb. ii. 26.

    In a narrow-bottom’d ditch cattle cannot turn themselves. John Mortimer, Husbandry.

    From this narrow time of gestation may ensue a smallness in the exclusion; but this inferreth no informity. Brown.

    To narrow breasts he comes all wrapt in gain,
    To swelling hearts he shines in honour’s fire. Philip Sidney.

    Nothing more shakes any society than mean divisions between the several orders of its members, and their narrow-hearted repining at each other’s gain. Thomas Sprat, Serm.

    The greatest understanding is narrow. How much of God and nature is there, whereof we never had any idea? Nehemiah Grew, Cosmol. b. ii. c. 8.

    The hopes of receiving good from those whom we gratify, would produce but a very narrow and stinted charity. George Smalridge, Sermons.

    A salamander grows familiar with a stranger at first sight, and is not so narrow-spirited as to observe, whether the person she talks to, be in breeches or in petticoats. Addison.

    It is with narrow-soul’d people as with narrow-neck’d bottles; the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring it out. Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies.

    Then Mnestheus to the head his arrow drove,
    But made a glancing shot, and miss’d the dove;
    Yet miss’d so narrow, that he cut the cord
    Which fasten’d by the foot the flitting bird. Dryden.

    The orb he roam’d
    With narrow search; and with inspection deep
    Consider’d ev’ry creature, which of all
    Most opportune might serve his wiles. John Milton, Par. Lost.

    Many malicious spies are searching into the actions of a great man, who is not always the best prepared for so narrow an inspection. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 265.

  2. To Narrowverb

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    In the wall he made narrowed rests, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. 1 Kings vi. 6.

    By reason of the great Continent of Brasilia, the needle deflecteth toward the land twelve degrees; but at the Straits of Magellan, where the land is narrowed, and the sea on the other side, it varieth about five or six. Thomas Browne, V. Err.

    A government, which by alienating the affections, losing the opinions, and crossing the interests of the people, leaves out of its compass the greatest part of their consent, may justly be said, in the same degrees it loses ground, to narrow its bottom. William Temple, Miscel.

    One science is incomparably above all the rest, where it is not by corruption narrowed into a trade, for mean or ill ends, and secular interests; I mean, theology, which contains the knowledge of God and his creatures. John Locke, Works.

    Desuetude does contract and narrow our faculties, so that we can apprehend only those things in which we are conversant. Government of the Tongue.

    How hard it is to get the mind, narrowed by a scanty collection of common ideas, to enlarge itself to a more copious stock. John Locke, Works.

    Lo! ev’ry finish’d son returns to thee!
    Bounded by nature, narrow’d still by art,
    A trifling head, and a contracted heart. Alexander Pope, Dunc. b. iv.

    By admitting too many things at once into one question, the mind is dazzled and bewildered; whereas by limiting and narrowing the question, you take a fuller survey of the whole. Isaac Watts, Logick.

    Our knowledge is much more narrow’d, if we confine ourselves to our own solitary reasonings, without much reading. Isaac Watts.


  1. narrow

    Narrow is defined as a situation, space or object having limited extent or width, often smaller or lesser than usual or desirable. It can also refer to a perspective or viewpoint that is limited and exclusive, usually focused on a particular area without considering related aspects.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Narrow

    of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side; as, a narrow board; a narrow street; a narrow hem

  2. Narrow

    of little extent; very limited; circumscribed

  3. Narrow

    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. Narrow

    limited as to means; straitened; pinching; as, narrow circumstances

  5. Narrow

    contracted; of limited scope; illiberal; bigoted; as, a narrow mind; narrow views

  6. Narrow

    parsimonious; niggardly; covetous; selfish

  7. Narrow

    scrutinizing in detail; close; accurate; exact

  8. Narrow

    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 / (f/d), etc., from i (ill) and / (f/t), etc. See Guide to Pronunciation, / 13

  9. Narrownoun

    a narrow passage; esp., a contracted part of a stream, lake, or sea; a strait connecting two bodies of water; -- usually in the plural; as, The Narrows of New York harbor

  10. Narrowverb

    to lessen the breadth of; to contract; to draw into a smaller compass; to reduce the width or extent of

  11. Narrowverb

    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

  12. Narrowverb

    to contract the size of, as a stocking, by taking two stitches into one

  13. Narrowverb

    to become less broad; to contract; to become narrower; as, the sea narrows into a strait

  14. Narrowverb

    not to step out enough to the one hand or the other; as, a horse narrows

  15. Narrowverb

    to contract the size of a stocking or other knit article, by taking two stitches into one

  16. Etymology: [OE. narwe, naru, AS. nearu; akin to OS. naru, naro.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Narrow

    nar′ō, adj. of little breadth: of small extent from side to side: limited: contracted in mind: bigoted: not liberal: selfish: within a small distance: almost too small: close: accurate: careful.—n. (oftener used in the pl.) a narrow passage, channel, or strait.—v.t. to make narrow: to contract or confine.—v.i. to become narrow: to reduce the number of stitches in knitting.—adj. Narr′ow-gauge, denoting a railroad of less width than 4 ft. 8½ in.—n. Narr′owing, the act of making less in breadth: the state of being contracted: the part of anything which is made narrower.—adv. Narr′owly.—adj. Narr′ow-mind′ed, of a narrow or illiberal mind.—ns. Narr′ow-mind′edness; Narr′owness.—adjs. Narr′ow-pry′ing (Shak.), scrutinising closely, inquisitive; Narr′ow-souled, illiberal.—Narrow cloth, cloth, esp. woollen, of less than 54 inches in width; Narrow work, in mining, the making of passages, air-shafts, &c. [A.S. nearu; not conn. with near, but prob. with nerve, snare.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Narrow is ranked #97671 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Narrow surname appeared 186 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Narrow.

    93.5% or 174 total occurrences were White.
    3.7% or 7 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'narrow' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2102

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'narrow' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3295

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'narrow' in Verbs Frequency: #1030

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'narrow' in Adjectives Frequency: #253

How to pronounce narrow?

How to say narrow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of narrow in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of narrow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of narrow in a Sentence

  1. Ryan Skinner:

    It's not a bad business idea, you see a need -- it's a narrow, very specific kind of need -- and you fill it. Just as the likes of WeWork and Regus [ co-working spaces ] have grown off a particular narrow need... I can see the same thing happening there.

  2. Eli Avidar:

    I want to lower everyones expectations. We arent going to join a narrow right-wing government or a narrow left-wing government.

  3. George Orwell:

    For the ordinary man is passive. Within a narrow circle (home life, and perhaps the trade unions or local politics) he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavouring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.

  4. Joseph Addison:

    Animals, in their generation, are wiser than the sons of men but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.

  5. Victor Montagliani:

    Victor Montagliani, the vice president of FIFAand president of CONCACAF, told Fox News recently that sports organizing body has started to tackle the issue, but acknowledged that more needs to be done. Perhaps, it hasnt, but at least its being addressed, and I think over time were going to see that gap narrow and narrow.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for narrow

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"narrow." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 24 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/narrow>.

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    Lengthy word or many syllables.
    • A. commensal
    • B. askant
    • C. tenebrous
    • D. sesquipedalian

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