con·​straint | \ kən-ˈstrānt How to pronounce constraint (audio) \

Definition of constraint

1a : 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.
2a : 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

Lack of funding has been a major constraint on the building's design. They demand freedom from constraint. They refuse to work under constraint any longer.
Recent Examples on the Web Tesla is making almost a million electric cars per year, and sourcing enough batteries is its biggest constraint, Moores said. Tom Bowker, USA TODAY, 17 Jan. 2022 To explain why aggressive government action does not pose a serious risk, some economists on the left have invoked Modern Monetary Theory, the idea that there is no constraint on the Fed or on government borrowing unless inflation clearly reemerges. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2021 The suite includes demand planning, material constraint planning, order management, capacity planning & supplier collaboration solutions. Steve Banker, Forbes, 22 May 2022 But a lack of manpower poses a significant constraint for Russia. Laris Karklis, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 Lawmakers are now admitting that the federal government faces a genuine budget constraint. Tom Church, STAT, 4 May 2022 That would create a longer-term constraint on certain foods. James Brown, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Given a similar constraint, Fain Johnson performed adroitly. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 For a band that’s gone through much of their career with a non-stop touring schedule, the silver-lining of the spell of time spent off the road was the opportunity to work on new PUP songs with no clear time constraint surrounding the process. Niko Stratis, SPIN, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of constraint

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for constraint

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

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The first known use of constraint was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Constraint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for constraint


con·​straint | \ kən-ˈstrānt How to pronounce constraint (audio) \

Kids Definition of constraint

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

More from Merriam-Webster on constraint

Nglish: Translation of constraint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of constraint for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about constraint


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