ADJ

considerable, enormous, great, heavy, real, severe, terrible, tremendous
It's a real strain having to get up so early!
slight
increasing
constant
excessive, intolerable, unbearable, undue
emotional, financial, mental, nervous, physical, psychological
The mental strain of sharing an office with Alison was starting to tell
breaking
a fishing line with a 15lb breaking strain

VERB + STRAIN

be/come under, feel, suffer (from)
Television newsreaders come under enormous strain. After weeks of overtime, she was starting to feel the strain
cause, create, impose, place, put
Increasing demand is placing undue strain on services
ease, reduce
cope with, stand, take
increase

STRAIN + VERB

show, take its toll (on sb), tell (on sb)
After six weeks of uncertainty, the strain was beginning to take its toll

PREP

under the ~
The ice gave way under the strain. He broke under the strain of having to work twelve hours a day
~ on
There's too much strain on the corner of the table

PHRASES

a bit of a strain
I found it a bit of a strain making conversation with her
signs of strain
After three years, their marriage was beginning to show signs of strain
stresses and strains
the stresses and strains of a long day
take the strain off sb/out of sth
The new scheme is designed to take the strain out of shopping

ADJ

bad
slight
back, eye, muscle, thigh, etc.

VERB + STRAIN

have, be suffering from
get
You'll get eye strain if you don't put the light on
recover from, shake off
Gerrard will play if he can shake off a slight thigh strain

ADV

hard
straining hard to understand
forward
I strained forward to get a better view

VERB + STRAIN

have to

PREP

against
The dogs were straining against the sledge
at
Several men were straining at a rope, trying to move the stalled vehicle
for
Their ears strained for any slight sound

PHRASES

strain to hear/see sth
We had to strain to hear what was being said

ADV

seriously, severely
The dispute severely strained relations between the two countries