Definition of constrain
1a : to force by imposed stricture, restriction, or limitation Teenagers often feel constrained by rules. an artist constrained by a client's requirementsb : to restrict the motion of (a mechanical body) to a particular mode
2 : compress; also : to clasp tightly
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
constrainedlyplay \kən-ˈstrā-nəd-lē, -ˈstrānd-lē\ adverb
Examples of constrain in a Sentence
constrained by conscience to tell only the truth
constrained his anger at the needless interruption
Recent Examples of constrain from the Web
A drunken man became noisy, and some of the attendants felt constrained to knock him down and kick him out into the street.
But his influence would be constrained, at least in the short term, because Ms. Yellen played a key role in developing those regulations.
Can the next president simply restart those efforts or will the president's inaction constrain their future options?
Constrained by the letter of the law, the administration took a more nuanced approach.
After years of borrowing to fill budget gaps, Puerto Rico must now balance the budget, despite an economy that has shrunk in the past decade and is constrained by persistently high unemployment.
And Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, said that a BRAC round may actually be needed once the budget caps that have constrained defense spending in recent years are removed.
Features including the double-hinged falcon-wing doors have constrained production and contributed to a costly $82,500 starting price.
The internet exists outside FCC control and, unlike traditional media outlets, bloggers aren’t constrained by the need to move product, meet profit projections or please shareholders.
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.
Origin and Etymology of constrain
Middle English, from Anglo-French constraindre, from Latin constringere to constrict, constrain, from com- + stringere to draw tight — more at strain
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of constrain
CONSTRAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of constrain for English Language Learners
: to limit or restrict (something or someone)
: to use pressure to force (someone) to do something
CONSTRAIN Defined for Kids
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