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confine

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

Definition of confine

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 3
  • work within the confines of a small group
  • —Frank Newman
2 a archaic :restriction
b obsolete :prison

Recent Examples of confine from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of confine

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French confines, plural, from Latin confine border, from neuter of confinis adjacent, from com- + finis end


2

confine

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verb con·fine \ kən-ˈfīn \

Definition of confine

confined; confining
intransitive verb
archaic :border
transitive verb
1 a :to hold within a location
  • Dikes confined the floodwaters.
2 :to keep within limits
  • will confine my remarks to one subject

confiner

noun

Examples of confine in a Sentence

  1. will confine my remarks to the subject we came here to discuss

  2. the accused was confined until the trial could take place

Recent Examples of confine from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of confine

Synonym Discussion of confine

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

CONFINE Defined for English Language Learners

confine

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verb

Definition of confine for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

confine

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verb con·fine \ kən-ˈfīn \

Definition of confine for Students

confined; confining
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.

confinement

\-mənt\ noun

Word Root of confine

The Latin word finis, meaning “end” or “boundary,” gives us the root fin. Words from the Latin finis have something to do with ends or limits. Something final, such as the last chapter in a book, is the ending one. To confine is to put limits or boundaries around something. To finish something is to come to its end. Something finite has limits and happens only for a certain amount of time or in a certain space before it ends.


Medical Dictionary

confine

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transitive verb con·fine \ kən-ˈfīn \

medical Definition of confine

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

Law Dictionary

confine

transitive verb con·fine

legal Definition of confine

confined; confining
:to hold within a location; specifically :imprison


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