confine

noun
con·​fine | \ ˈkän-ˌfīn also kən-ˈfīn How to pronounce confine (audio) \

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 How to pronounce confine (audio) \
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

And body size isn’t the only obstacle—people with limited mobility can struggle in tight confines. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "You’re Not Getting Bigger, the Airplane Bathroom Is Getting Smaller," 29 Aug. 2018 The #MeToo movement exploded in the rarefied confines of Hollywood, politics, the media, and in large corporations, among white-collar workers. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Bill Cosby’s conviction brings change but not enough," 28 Apr. 2018 The Pope is also the chief executive of a kind of government, the head official of the Holy See, which is quartered in the 110-acre confines of Vatican City in Rome. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Pope Who Would Be King' details the birth of the modern papacy," 17 Apr. 2018 Most of the heavy lifting came in the familiar confines of the AT&T Center. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs punch playoff ticket, but their work is not done," 10 Apr. 2018 Once the Butler job became open, his second year as a head coach would be spent in friendlier confines. Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press, "Butler basketball job suits ex-Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan well," 18 Mar. 2018 There are some dwarf and miniature varieties, such as Thumbelina carrots or other baby vegetables that work particularly well in small confines. OregonLive.com, "No room for a vegetable garden? Create space with potted plants," 13 Mar. 2018 West Bank native, drag superstar and shock comedian Bianca del Rio returned to the Crescent City on Saturday night (March 3) to hold forth in the elegant confines of the Orpheum Theater. Chris Granger, NOLA.com, "Second-line through Central City and Broadmoor: See photos," 5 Mar. 2018 All 333 meters of this vessel— nearly 1,100 feet of cargo ship—must make a dogleg turn to stay within the confines of this narrow shipping channel. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "America's New Energy Coast," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The organization, founded by Doris Freedman in 1977, collaborates with artists to bring to the public what is typically confined to galleries and museums. Ian Malone, Vogue, "The Public Art Fund Hosts a Fine Art Game Night," 12 Apr. 2019 Union membership at trucking companies has fallen dramatically since interstate trucking was deregulated in 1980, and is now largely confined to the less-than-truckload, or LTL, sector. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trucker YRC, Teamsters Tumble Toward Contract Deadline," 20 Mar. 2019 Jewel smuggling, however, like any smuggling designed merely to evade duties, was confined to a comparatively small professional class, with now and then an occasional traveler who attempted to bring in something for his own use. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 Westchester County has confirmed eight measles cases, primarily confined to one family whose children were unvaccinated, officials said Wednesday. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Eight Measles Cases Found in New York’s Westchester County," 10 Apr. 2019 While Harry and Meghan kept the celebrations confined to their wedding day, Princess Eugenie is having another party the day after her wedding. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding Breaks Tradition," 3 Oct. 2018 Instead, these stories often stay confined to the small group of people who witnessed it or were told about it at the time. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The first source of the New Yorker bombshell wasn’t Deborah Ramirez. It was Yale alumni.," 24 Sep. 2018 Over the past month or so, Goldschmidt said, his problems haven’t been confined to one area. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt again showing signs of life on offense," 7 June 2018 A month after the Causeway crash, a St. Tammany judge ordered that Matte be confined to her parents' home from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily, refrain from driving and wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet while the North Shore case is pending. Robert Rhoden, NOLA.com, "1 year after fatal Causeway crash, accused DWI motorist awaits trial as victim's widow files suit," 23 Mar. 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

17 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce confine (audio) \
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 How to pronounce confine (audio) \
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

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