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

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 The tight confines of the tiny Virginia track raises the aggravation levels for most of the field and usually leads to bumping, banging and busted-up race cars. Jenna Fryer, The Seattle Times, "Keselowski routs field to earn win at Martinsville Speedway," 24 Mar. 2019 But when New England take their annual trip to the sunny confines of Miami, the typical logic doesn’t always explain what happens. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Miracle Dolphins Touchdown that Stunned the Patriots," 9 Dec. 2018 The notion of clean or natural beauty products is ill-defined across the industry, but within the confines of Whole Foods, product quality standards are front and center. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Whole Foods' Annual Beauty Week Event Has Arrived and Every Product Is on Sale," 12 Mar. 2019 At the end of the day, what makes him so refreshing is his joie de vivre: Miller tosses gender confines to the wayside, stepping out in looks that are provocative, glamorous, and just plain ol’ fun. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ezra Miller Makes the Case for Lipstick on Men," 27 Feb. 2019 In 1984, Mercury sold the property to the Kirchman Foundation, a nonprofit conservation group, ostensibly because Mercury’s racing program outgrew the confines of the three-mile lake. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Lake X: Mercury Marine's Secret Boat Testing Site," 27 Dec. 2018 Venturi and Brown managed to design one for BEST, a chain known for its abstract and sculptural stores, that was bold while staying within its core crass and commercialist confines. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018 While some anti-Jewish riots still continued in Russia, Jews were able to leave their earlier confines with new protections against discrimination. Alexandra Bregman, WSJ, "When Chagall and Malevich Battled in Russia," 9 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The finding now brings the fatal wildlife disease to Wisconsin's most urban county, and comes 16 years after the first report in the state of a disease that previously had been confined to the western United States. Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chronic wasting disease, scourge of wild deer, found for first time in Milwaukee County," 16 Jan. 2018 If your acne bumps are primarily confined to one area of your face, like the bridge of your nose, a spot treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is the way to go, Dr. Ferris says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The Acne-Prevention Strategies Glasses Wearers Need to Know," 21 Mar. 2019 Despite the approval of his father, Ensign McCain spent 30 days confined to his ship for neglecting to ask his own captain for permission to marry. P.j. O'rourke, Town & Country, "Roberta McCain, the Woman Who Shaped Senator John McCain," 29 Aug. 2018 The vice once thought confined mostly to the foolishness of college kids has now apparently infiltrated the lives of more women and more adults age 35 and older. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Is marijuana the ‘social lubricant’ that can cut America’s binge drinking habit? | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 10 Apr. 2018 But the system has led to shortages, and problems appear to be widespread, not confined to perishables like the meat and produce issues that Murphy encountered. Ziati Meyer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Whole Foods among stores seeing shortages after supply chain change," 8 Feb. 2018 Eight people were killed and nearly 200 were injured, including Kulp, who suffered a major spinal cord injury, which left him confined to a power wheelchair with limited use of his arms. Eli Kulp, Bon Appetit, "An Amtrak Crash Left Chef Eli Kulp Confined to a Wheelchair—But It Hasn't Kept Him from Running 4 Restaurants," 31 Jan. 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

19 Apr 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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