Definition of confine
1 plural a : something (as borders or walls) that encloses <outside the confines of the office or hospital — W. A. Nolen>; also : something that restrains <escape from the confines of soot and clutter — E. S. Muskie> b : scope 3 <work within the confines of a small group — Frank Newman>
Origin and Etymology of confine
Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French confines, plural, from Latin confine border, from neuter of confinis adjacent, from com- + finis end
First Known Use: 15th century
Simple Definition of confine
: to keep (someone or something) within limits : to prevent (someone or something) from going beyond a particular limit, area, etc.
: to keep (a person or animal) in a place (such as a prison)
: to force or cause (someone) to stay in something (such as a bed or wheelchair)
Examples of confine in a sentence
<will confine my remarks to the subject we came here to discuss>
<the accused was confined until the trial could take place>
Did You Know?
Confine means basically to keep someone or something within borders. Someone confined to a bedroom or a wheelchair is too ill or disabled to be anywhere else. A person under "house arrest" is confined to his or her house by the government. At a business meeting, the discussion may be confined to a single topic. A town may keep industrial development confined to one area by means of zoning. And someone confined to the state prison for 20 years has probably committed quite a serious crime.
First Known Use of confine
Synonym Discussion of confine
CONFINE Defined for Kids
Word Root of confine
The Latin word finis, meaning “end” or “boundary,” gives us the root fin. Words from the Latin finis have something to do with ends or limits. Something final, such as the last chapter in a book, is the ending one. To confine is to put limits or boundaries around something. To finish something is to come to its end. Something finite has limits and happens only for a certain amount of time or in a certain space before it ends.
Medical Definition of confine
: to keep from leaving accustomed quarters (as one's room or bed) under pressure of infirmity, childbirth, or detention
Legal Definition of confine
: to hold within a location; specifically : imprison
Seen and Heard
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