constrain

verb
con·​strain | \ kən-ˈstrān How to pronounce constrain (audio) \
constrained; constraining; constrains

Definition of constrain

transitive verb

1a : to force by imposed stricture, restriction, or limitation Teenagers often feel constrained by rules. an artist constrained by a client's requirements
b : to restrict the motion of (a mechanical body) to a particular mode
2 : compress also : to clasp tightly
3 : to secure by or as if by bonds : confine constrained to a dungeon broadly : limit
4 : to force or produce in an unnatural or strained manner a constrained smile
5 : to hold back by or as if by force " … constraining my mind not to wander from the task."— Charles Dickens

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Other Words from constrain

constrainedly \ kən-​ˈstrā-​nəd-​lē How to pronounce constrainedly (audio) , -​ˈstrānd-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for constrain

force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige mean to make someone or something yield. force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress. forced to flee for their lives compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force. compelled to admit my mistake coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure. coerced into signing over the rights constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice. constrained by conscience oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty. felt obliged to go

Examples of constrain in a Sentence

constrained by conscience to tell only the truth constrained his anger at the needless interruption

Recent Examples on the Web

During those brief and geographically constrained moments, the brightness of the sun is reduced to that of a full moon, which can be viewed safely without anything over your eyes. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Total solar eclipse moves across South America today," 2 July 2019 Experts say a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran would further constrain oil supply and send oil prices higher. Washington Post, "OPEC weighs extension of output cuts amid slackening demand," 1 July 2019 But the Mac Pro caused production headaches, which slowed manufacturing and constrained Apple’s ability to make enough computers to meet demand. Mark Gurman, Fortune, "Trade War Be Damned, Apple Is Moving Its Mac Pro Production to China," 28 June 2019 But the Mac Pro caused production headaches, which slowed production and constrained Apple’s ability to make enough computers to meet demand. Molly Schuetz And Mark Gurman / Bloomberg, Time, "Apple’s Mac Pro Was its Last Big 'Made in America' Product. Now it's Moving to China," 28 June 2019 Both Kane County and the Sugar Grove Village Board have approved resolutions that object to the use of funds to extend the rail line when they've been told funds are constrained to be used for the existing network. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Kane chairman says Metra funds should be used for current system, not Kendall extension," 13 June 2019 So far, the administration has awarded contracts for 247 miles (395 km) of wall construction, but that initiative has been constrained by court cases that are still playing out. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Economy, Wall, Taxes: Fact Checking Trump's Speech at Orlando Rally," 19 June 2019 So far, the administration has awarded contracts for 247 miles (395 km) of wall construction, but that initiative has been constrained by court cases that are still playing out. Calvin Woodward, BostonGlobe.com, "Fact check: In 2020 debut, Trump exaggerates economic growth," 18 June 2019 This may not reflect justices’ nobility and open-mindedness as much as reflect an enduring truth about their job: The court’s traditional review of cases is actually very narrowly constrained. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The latest US Supreme Court rulings are blowing up pundits’ predictions," 15 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constrain.' 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 constrain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for constrain

Middle English, from Anglo-French constraindre, from Latin constringere to constrict, constrain, from com- + stringere to draw tight — more at strain

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Statistics for constrain

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constrain

The first known use of constrain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for constrain

constrain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of constrain

: to limit or restrict (something or someone)
formal : to use pressure to force (someone) to do something

constrain

verb
con·​strain | \ kən-ˈstrān How to pronounce constrain (audio) \
constrained; constraining

Kids Definition of constrain

1 : compel sense 1, force He was constrained to retire because of ill health.
2 : to restrict or limit She felt the rules constrained her creativity.

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Comments on constrain

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