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verb re·strain \ri-ˈstrān\

Simple Definition of restrain

  • : to prevent (a person or animal) from doing something

  • : to prevent (a person or animal) from moving by using physical force

  • : to keep (something) under control

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of restrain

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to prevent from doing, exhibiting, or expressing something <restrained the child from jumping> b :  to limit, restrict, or keep under control <try to restrain your anger>

  3. 2 :  to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of <restrain trade>

  4. 3 :  to deprive of liberty; especially :  to place under arrest or restraint


play \-ˈstrā-nə-bəl\ adjective



Examples of restrain in a sentence

  1. He could not restrain the dog from attacking.

  2. He could restrain himself no longer.

  3. Hospital orderlies needed to restrain the patient.

  4. He was restrained and placed in a holding cell.

  5. He could barely restrain his anger.

  6. The manufacturer took measures to restrain costs.

Origin and Etymology of restrain

Middle English restraynen, from Anglo-French restreindre, from Latin restringere to restrain, restrict, from re- + stringere to bind tight — more at strain

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of restrain

restrain, check, curb, bridle mean to hold back from or control in doing something. restrain suggests holding back by force or persuasion from acting or from going to extremes <restrained themselves from laughing>. check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus <trying to check government spending>. curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking <learn to curb your appetite>. bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in <bridle an impulse to throw the book down>.

RESTRAIN Defined for Kids


verb re·strain \ri-ˈstrān\

Definition of restrain for Students



  1. 1 :  to keep from doing something <I wanted to speak, but restrained myself.>

  2. 2 :  to keep back :  curb <He couldn't restrain his laughter.>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb re·strain \ri-ˈstrān\

Legal Definition of restrain

  1. 1a :  to prevent from doing something — see also restraining order at order 3b b :  to limit, restrict, or keep under control

  2. 2 :  to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of

  3. 3 :  to deprive of liberty and especially of physical movement

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