confine

noun
con·​fine | \ˈkän-ˌfīn also kən-ˈfīn \

Definition of confine 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 confines plural

a : something (such 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 sense 3 work within the confines of a small group— Frank Newman

2a archaic : restriction

b obsolete : prison

confine

verb
con·​fine | \kən-ˈfīn \
confined; confining

Definition of confine (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to hold within a location Dikes confined the floodwaters.

b : imprison

2 : to keep within limits will confine my remarks to one subject

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Other Words from confine

Verb

confiner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for confine

Synonyms: Verb

cap, circumscribe, hold down, limit, restrict

Antonyms: Verb

exceed

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Choose the Right Synonym for confine

Verb

limit, restrict, circumscribe, confine mean to set bounds for. limit implies setting a point or line (as in time, space, speed, or degree) beyond which something cannot or is not permitted to go. visits are limited to 30 minutes restrict suggests a narrowing or tightening or restraining within or as if within an encircling boundary. laws intended to restrict the freedom of the press circumscribe stresses a restriction on all sides and by clearly defined boundaries. the work of the investigating committee was carefully circumscribed confine suggests severe restraint and a resulting cramping, fettering, or hampering. our choices were confined by finances

Examples of confine in a Sentence

Verb

will confine my remarks to the subject we came here to discuss the accused was confined until the trial could take place

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

DeGeneres did as stellar a job as possible, but all Oscars hosts, no matter how great, are up against the confines of a bloated and largely boring telecast that refuses to change with the times. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Who Needs an Oscars Host Anyway?," 7 Dec. 2018 Being chased within the physical confines of The Haunted Trail by a chain saw carrying maniac is a fundamental part and inherent risk of this amusement. Randy Maniloff, WSJ, "But Your Honor, It Was Halloween!," 30 Oct. 2018 Participants endure months in cramped confines in analog missions at NASA’s facilities in Houston, as well as remote places like Antarctica, the floor of the Atlantic Ocean and atop a Hawaiian volcano. Stephen Ornes, Discover Magazine, "Want to be a Mars Astronaut? You'll Need the Proper Mindset," 16 Oct. 2018 Most of these spaceflight scenes are shot within the confines of the cockpits, which are claustrophobically confining. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘First Man’: Ryan Gosling is stellar as astronaut Neil Armstrong," 8 Oct. 2018 At the same time, riding the rails also offers a chance to live free, escaping the confines of conforming, small town life. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Door County theaters add stories and sparkle to summer nights," 11 July 2018 The film only leaves the confines of the spacecraft (a floating house) to cut to Earth, where the husband of the one of the astronauts thinks about his wife and family. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018 When Howell temporarily escapes the confines of the tiny lighthouse to go fishing, Griffiths informs him that if he's spotted he'll be immediately canned. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lighthouse': Film Review," 4 July 2018 Instead, the book stays strictly with Ada, never leaving the confines of her life. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Freshwater: A Coming-of-Age Story Containing Multitudes," 1 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The flowers aren't confined to just lapels, either. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie Shared a Touching Instagram Post on Remembrance Day," 12 Nov. 2018 The attack on Ford’s memory isn’t confined to Fox: Over at National Review, writer David French takes issue with how her current recollections diverge slightly from those in 2012 notes from her therapist. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Human memory is flawed. That doesn’t mean Christine Blasey Ford is wrong.," 27 Sep. 2018 The public-private debate is not confined to Indiana. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "What would you change if you were IHSAA commissioner for a day?," 30 June 2018 The oath that all officials take to adhere to the Constitution is not confined to those spheres in which the Judiciary can correct or even comment upon what those officials say or do. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Supreme Court upholds Trump's travel ban, bolstering president's power to block new arrivals," 26 June 2018 The problem isn’t confined to Connecticut, however — there is nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Report Reveals What Renters Already Know: It's Hard To Find An Affordable Apartment In Connecticut," 20 June 2018 The scandals may not be confined to Volkswagen Group, either. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Volkswagen Group will pay another $1.2 billion in Germany over diesel scandal," 13 June 2018 Such dangers were not entirely confined to the uneducated inhabitants of the Celtic countryside. Longreads, "Fairy Scapegoats: A History of the Persecution of Changeling Children," 9 June 2018 And Frelick’s success is not confined to athletics. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, "Athletic in the extreme, Frelick commits to the diamond," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confine

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1523, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for confine

Noun

Middle English confynyes, borrowed from Latin confīnia, plural of confīnium "common boundary, limit, border," from confīnis "having a common boundary" (from con- con- + -fīnis, adjective derivative of fīnis "boundary, limit, ending") + -ium, suffix of compounded nouns — more at final entry 1

Verb

borrowed from Middle French confiner "to be adjacent, restrain within limits," probably borrowed from Italian confinare, derivative of confine "boundary line, limit," noun derivative from neuter of Latin confīnis "having a common boundary" — more at confine entry 1

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Statistics for confine

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confine

The first known use of confine was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for confine

confine

verb

English Language Learners 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)

confine

verb
con·​fine | \kən-ˈfīn \
confined; confining

Kids Definition of confine

1 : to keep within limits Her study of bears is confined to those in North America.

2 : to shut up : imprison

3 : to keep indoors She was confined by sickness.

Other Words from confine

confinement \-​mənt \ noun

confine

transitive verb
con·​fine | \kən-ˈfīn \
confined; confining

Medical Definition of confine 

: to keep from leaving accustomed quarters (as one's room or bed) under pressure of infirmity, childbirth, or detention

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confine

transitive verb
con·​fine
confined; confining

Legal Definition of confine 

: to hold within a location specifically : imprison

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More from Merriam-Webster on confine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for confine

Spanish Central: Translation of confine

Nglish: Translation of confine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confine for Arabic Speakers

Comments on confine

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