Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

restrain

play
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

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

re·strain·able play \-ˈstrā-nə-bəl\ adjective
re·strain·er noun

Examples of restrain

  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 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>.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up restrain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet kittly-benders pince-nez spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ