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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from confine

Verb

confiner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for confine

Synonyms: Verb

commit, immure, imprison, incarcerate, intern, jail, jug, lock (up)

Antonyms: Verb

discharge, free, liberate, release

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The Liverpool fans' reaction to Salah's goalscoring exploits have not always been conventional, with their support for the Egyptian stretching far beyond the confines of Anfield. SI.com, "Mohamed Salah Reveals Special Bond With Liverpool Fans Before Sharing Secret to Coping With Pressure," 11 June 2018 Elsewhere, Emily is also rebelling against the confines of Gilead – only her intentions are more murderous. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 13: The Martha Express," 11 July 2018 Even better: Ta refused to keep the color within confines, instead allowing the pressing of pink to diffuse freely, coated over lids and edged beneath the lower lashline, before extending into a hazy wing. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Rules the Beach in the Riskiest Neon Makeup Shade Yet," 2 July 2018 At the same time, the lower court is up to its old tricks, looking for ways to allow as many software patents as possible within the confines of Supreme Court precedent. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why a 40-year-old SCOTUS ruling against software patents still matters today," 21 June 2018 Brown had been a magnetic figure even within the confines of New Edition, and his persona seemed prime for a solo breakthrough. Stereo Williams, Billboard, "New Jack Summer: In June '88, Bobby Brown, Teddy Riley & New Edition Announced the Arrival of R&B's New School," 20 June 2018 Over the years, Grande has managed to change things up a little, though mostly within the confines of a hair tie. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Ariana Grande Opens Up About the Evolution of Her Iconic Ponytail," 30 May 2018 His home-road splits indicate the cozy confines of the Keys' home ballpark might be causing him some trouble, too, and things looked much different before the All-Star break, as he's struggled in two of his three starts since. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "One for the future: Evaluating Orioles prospect Alex Wells," 12 July 2018 Nadal ended up in the first row of the stands at one stage after chasing a del Potro shot even farther than the court’s generous confines allowed. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "On a Wild Day at Wimbledon, Federer Exits and Nadal Hangs On," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For decades, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair by a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a neurological disease that handcuffs movement. Dan Vergano, Cincinnati.com, "Stephen Hawking, legendary physicist, dies at 76, family says," 14 Mar. 2018 No longer confined to Anita’s family, now all Chicago citizens can taste the chase! Michael Nagrant, RedEye Chicago, "A guide to eating your way through Chicago's South Side," 6 July 2017 But this Sherlock has also been periodically confined to an asylum by her own brother (Sean Fortunato) – reflecting how readily intelligent women then and now are marginalized as mad hysterics. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Door County theaters add stories and sparkle to summer nights," 11 July 2018 The largest grizzly, too powerful and ornery to be given even the limited freedom of a chain, was confined in an iron cage. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "The original Grizzly Adams kept his bears on a chain in SF," 7 July 2018 The rebels are confined to pockets along the southern and northern borders (see map). The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 My mother is confined in her cave of steel, trapped within the boundaries of her forgetfulness. Leslie Kendall Dye, Longreads, "City on a Hill," 23 June 2018 Production facilities would be confined to industrial areas. Ken Byron, Courant Community, "Avon Planners Approve Rules On Medical Marijuana," 29 Mar. 2018 The flowering of Democratic political activism that is taking place under Mr Trump is largely confined to the party’s liberal side. The Economist, "The L wordWho is a Democrat?," 12 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about confine

Statistics for confine

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confine

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

confine

transitive verb
con·fine
confined; confining

Legal Definition of confine 

: to hold within a location specifically : imprison

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on confine

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!