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

This is a huge win for the city and for the people to increase ranks by four officers and two vehicles and do it within the confines of the existing budget. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy Mills Mall provides substation for police department," 9 June 2019 But what started as a simple text conversation turned into an elongated phone call within the confines of the Lisbon IKEA. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Mykki Blanco Explains 'Surreal' Experience of Working With Madonna on 'Dark Ballet' Video," 7 June 2019 While the children await sponsors — who are typically family members living in the U.S. — HHS has been offering them English classes and allowing them to participate in outdoors activities, like soccer, within the confines of the shelters. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Trump administration nixes educational, recreational activities for migrant children in U.S. custody," 5 June 2019 Earlier this month, Spears appeared in court to ask a judge to loosen the confines of said conservatorship, requesting to ease restrictions that prevent her from making decisions about her own life. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "What Exactly Is Going on With Britney Spears?," 15 May 2019 To launch a watch at this landmark of counterculture creativity, far from the stuffy confines of a conventional fine-watch fair, felt like a bold move, and one intended to lure in a slightly younger clientele that’s not ready for a six-figure watch. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "The Best Watches of 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That includes state prison, local jail, federal prison, youth offenders and people involuntarily committed under the Baker Act, which allows judges, police, doctors or mental health professionals to confine people that may be mentally ill. Dan Sweeney, sun-sentinel.com, "Why is the prison population so high in Florida? | You asked, we answer," 10 June 2019 One does not want to be confined to a cubicle, constrained in stuffy, dark-hued, teetering pumps. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Vogue Staffers Pick the Most Chic and Comfortable Shoes to Wear to Work This Summer," 31 May 2019 Lennox has always had too much creative stamina to be confined to just one path. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Annie Lennox Traveled the World and the Seven Seas—and Made an Exhibit of Her Life," 25 May 2019 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

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

14 Jun 2019

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 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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