AskDefine | Define straw

Dictionary Definition

straw adj : of a pale yellow color like straw; straw colored


1 plant fiber used e.g. for making baskets and hats or as fodder
2 material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds [syn: chaff, husk, shuck, stalk, stubble]
3 a yellow tint; yellow diluted with white [syn: pale yellow]
4 a thin paper or plastic tube used to such liquids into the mouth [syn: drinking straw]


1 cover or provide with or as if with straw; "cows were strawed to weather the snowstorm"
2 spread by scattering ("straw" is archaic); "strew toys all over the carpet" [syn: strew]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English strēaw, from Germanic *strawam ‘that which is strewn’. Cognate with Dutch stroo, German Stroh, Swedish strå.




  1. A dried stalk of a cereal plant.
  2. Such dried stalks considered collectively.
  3. A drinking straw.
  4. a pale, yellowish beige colour, like that of a dried straw.
    straw colour:   


a dried stalk of a cereal plant
dried stalks considered collectively
drinking straw


  1. Made of straw.
    straw hat
  2. Of a pale, yellowish beige colour, like that of a dried straw.
made of straw
of a pale, yellowish beige colour
  • Finnish: oljenkeltainen

Extensive Definition

Straw is an agricultural byproduct, the dry stalk of a cereal plant, after the nutrient grain or seed has been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of a cereal crop such as barley, oats, rice, rye or wheat. In times gone by, it was regarded as a useful by-product of the harvest, but with the advent of the combine harvester, straw has become more of a burden, almost a nuisance to farmers.
However, straw can be put to many uses, old and new.


  • Biofuels
    • The use of straw as a carbon-neutral energy source is increasing rapidly, especially for biobutanol.
  • Bedding humans or livestock
    • The straw-filled mattress, also known as palliasse, is still used in many parts of the world.
    • It is commonly used as bedding for ruminants and horses. It may be used as bedding and food for small animals, but this often leads to injuries to mouth, nose and eyes as straw is quite sharp.
  • Animal feed
    • Straw may be fed as part of the roughage component of the diet to cattle that are on a near maintenance level of energy requirement. It has a low digestible energy and nutrient content. The heat generated when microorganisms in a herbivore's gut digest straw can be useful in maintaining body temperature in cold climates. Due to the risk of impaction and its poor nutrient profile, it should always be restricted to part of the diet.
  • Hats
    • There are several styles of straw hats that are made of woven straw.
    • Until about 100 years ago, thousands of women and children in England were employed in plaiting straw for making hats. These days the straw plait is imported.
  • Thatching
    • Thatched roofs are becoming increasingly popular, and the skills of a master thatcher are once again in demand.
  • Packaging
    • Straw is resistant to being crushed and therefore makes a good packing material. A company in France makes a straw mat sealed in thin plastic sheets.
    • Straw envelopes for wine bottles have become rarer, but are still to be found at some wine merchants.
  • Paper
    • Straw can be pulped to make paper.
  • Archery targets
    • Heavy gauge straw rope is coiled and sewn tightly together. This is no longer done entirely by hand, but is partially mechanised.
  • Horse collars
    • Working horses are making a comeback, and there is a need for horse collars stuffed with good quality rye straw. Being a "long straw filler" is a highly skilled job.
  • Construction material: bricks / cob
    • In many parts of the world, straw is used to bind clay and concrete. This mixture of clay and straw, known as cob, can be used as a building material. There are many recipes for making cob.
    • When baled, straw has excellent insulation characteristics. It can be used, alone or in a post-and-beam construction, to build straw bale houses.
    • Enviroboard can be made from straw.
  • Rope
    • Rope made from straw was used by thatchers, in the packaging industry and even in iron foundries.
  • Basketry
    • Bee skeps and linen baskets are made from coiled and bound together continuous lengths of straw. The technique is known as lip work.
  • Horticulture
    • Straw is used in cucumber houses and for mushroom growing.
    • In Japan, certain trees are wrapped with straw to protect them from the effects of a hard winter as well as to use them as a trap for parasite insects.
    • It is also used in ponds to reduce algae by changing the nutrient ratios in the water.
    • The soil under strawberries is covered with straw to protect the ripe berries from dirt.
    • Straw also makes an excellent mulch.
straw in Aymara: Jichhu
straw in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Салома
straw in Catalan: Palla
straw in Czech: Sláma
straw in Danish: Halm
straw in German: Stroh
straw in Spanish: Paja
straw in Esperanto: Pajlo
straw in Persian: کاه
straw in French: Paille
straw in Galician: Palla
straw in Korean: 짚
straw in Ido: Palio
straw in Italian: Paglia
straw in Hebrew: קש
straw in Dutch: Stro
straw in Japanese: 藁
straw in Narom: Pâle
straw in Polish: Słoma
straw in Portuguese: Palha
straw in Russian: Солома
straw in Sicilian: Pagghia
straw in Slovenian: Slama
straw in Serbian: Слама
straw in Finnish: Olki
straw in Swedish: Halm

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a continental, a curse, a damn, a darn, a hoot, adjutage, afterglow, afterimage, air, anthrophore, aureate, auric, axis, bagatelle, balance, barley, bauble, bean, beige, bestrew, bibelot, bird seed, bit, bole, bran, brass farthing, broadcast, bubble, buff, buff-yellow, butt, butt end, button, canary, canary-yellow, candle ends, cane, carpophore, cat food, catheter, caudex, caulicle, caulis, cent, chaff, chicken feed, chip, chop, citron, citron-yellow, cobweb, cork, corn, cream, creamy, culm, curio, debris, detritus, disseminate, dog food, down, drainpipe, dust, eatage, ecru, efflux tube, end, ensilage, ether, fag end, fairy, fallow, farce, farthing, feather, feed, fig, filings, fire hose, flaxen, fleabite, flue, flue pipe, fluff, foam, fodder, folderol, footstalk, forage, fossil, fribble, frippery, froth, funicule, funiculus, funnel, fuzz, garden hose, gas pipe, gaud, gewgaw, gilded, gilt, gimcrack, gold, gold-colored, golden, gossamer, grain, hair, halfpenny, haulm, hay, hill of beans, holdover, hose, hosepipe, husks, jest, joke, kickshaw, knickknack, knickknackery, leafstalk, leavings, leftovers, lemon, lemon-yellow, luteolous, lutescent, mash, meal, minikin, mockery, molehill, mote, nipple, oats, ocherish, ocherous, ochery, ochreous, ochroid, ochrous, ochry, odds and ends, offscourings, or, organ pipe, orts, parings, pasturage, pasture, pedicel, peduncle, peppercorn, pet food, petiole, petiolule, petiolus, picayune, pin, pinch of snuff, pinprick, pipe, pipeline, pipette, piping, primrose, primrose-colored, primrose-yellow, provender, rags, rap, red cent, reed, reed pipe, refuse, relics, remainder, remains, remnant, residue, residuum, rest, roach, row of pins, rubbish, ruins, rump, rush, saffron, saffron-colored, saffron-yellow, sallow, sand-colored, sandy, sawdust, scatter, scourings, scraps, scratch, scratch feed, seedstalk, shadow, shavings, shit, siamese, siamese connection, silage, siphon, slops, snap, sneeshing, snorkel, soil pipe, sou, sow, spear, spire, sponge, spume, stalk, standpipe, steam pipe, stem, stipe, stock, straw-colored, stubble, stump, survival, sweepings, swill, tap, thistledown, tigella, toy, trace, trifle, trinket, tube, tubing, tubulation, tubule, tubulet, tubulure, tuppence, two cents, twopence, vestige, waste, waste pipe, water pipe, wheat, whim-wham, xanthic, xanthous, yellow, yellowish
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1