One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘a strained silence’
awkward, tense, uneasy, uncomfortable, fraught, edgy, difficult, troubled, embarrassed, unrelaxed, stilted
2‘Jean's pale, strained face’
drawn, careworn, worn, pinched, tired, exhausted, weary, fatigued, drained
3‘he gave her a strained smile’
forced, constrained, laboured, wooden, stiff, self-conscious, hollow, unnatural
artificial, insincere, false, affected, put-on
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