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

The process is determined by the location of the landing site and constrained by physics. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why Mars InSight Will Be a Mission of Firsts," 23 Nov. 2018 The ones who are constraining your language are the ones that aren’t gonna be as successful. Eric Johnson, Recode, "What’s next for virtual assistants like Alexa? Maybe buying stuff for you automatically.," 24 Dec. 2018 Companies targeted by leveraged buyouts are often further constrained. The New York Times, cleveland.com, "Claire's, the teen jewelry chain, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy," 19 Mar. 2018 They were constrained by sexism in nearly every aspect of their lives. Zoey Grossman; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Uzo Aduba, Katie Holmes & Ieshia Evans Reenact Iconic Images of Social Change," 20 Nov. 2018 He is constrained by physical space, and by the dimensions of the script, which give all the action and good lines to Giacometti. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Final Portrait' is painted into a corner," 4 Apr. 2018 But they have been constrained by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted in 1972, which placed sea otters off limits for hunting to everyone except Alaska Natives who live on the coast. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaskans make new push to kill more sea otters, saying they’re decimating Southeast shellfish," 17 Mar. 2018 Behind the shift in the Chinese leadership’s attitude is an acute realization that options on stimulus are more constrained than in the past. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China Moves Cautiously in Face of Economic Slowdown," 20 Jan. 2019 The other main advantage King claims is that the Szorenyi's rev limit isn't constrained by the crankshaft bending that results from the Wankel's eccentric rotors. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The Rhombus Rotary Engine: Can a Quirky New Design Top the Famous Wankel?," 18 Jan. 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

16 May 2019

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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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