constraint

noun con·straint \ kən-ˈstrānt \

Definition of constraint

1 a :the act of constraining
b :the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid or perform some action
  • … the constraint and monotony of a monastic life …
  • —Matthew Arnold
  • a life of invalidism and constraint
c :a constraining condition, agency, or force :check
  • put legal constraints on the board's activities
  • Budget constraints have forced me to revise my travel plans.
2 a :repression of one's own feelings, behavior, or actions
  • emotional constraint
b :a sense of being constrained :embarrassment
  • " … a constraint between us as if we were strangers … "
  • —John P. Marquand

Examples of constraint in a Sentence

  1. Lack of funding has been a major constraint on the building's design.

  2. They demand freedom from constraint.

  3. They refuse to work under constraint any longer.

Recent Examples of constraint from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constraint.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of constraint

Middle English, from Middle French constrainte, from constraindre — see constrain


CONSTRAINT Defined for English Language Learners

constraint

noun

Definition of constraint for English Language Learners

  • : something that limits or restricts someone or something

  • : control that limits or restricts someone's actions or behavior


CONSTRAINT Defined for Kids

constraint

noun con·straint \ kən-ˈstrānt \

Definition of constraint for Students

1 :control that limits or restricts
  • The committee refused to act under constraint.
2 :something that limits or restricts
  • money constraints


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up constraint? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

readily predictable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!