con·​strict | \ kən-ˈstrikt How to pronounce constrict (audio) \
constricted; constricting; constricts

Definition of constrict

transitive verb

1a : to make narrow or draw together Smoking constricts blood vessels.
b : compress, squeeze constrict a nerve These shoes are too small and they constrict my feet.
2 : to stultify, stop, or cause to falter : inhibit The expectation of violence constricts our lives.— Marge Piercy

intransitive verb

: to become constricted The drug causes the blood vessels to constrict.

Other Words from constrict

constrictive \ kən-​ˈstrik-​tiv How to pronounce constrict (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for constrict



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Choose the Right Synonym for constrict

contract, shrink, condense, compress, constrict, deflate mean to decrease in bulk or volume. contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length. caused her muscles to contract shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions. the sweater will shrink when washed condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content. condense the essay into a paragraph compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance. compressed cotton into bales constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter. the throat is constricted by a tight collar deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas. deflate the balloon

Did you know?

Arteries constricted by cholesterol slow the flow of blood, just as traffic arteries or highways constricted by accidents slow the flow of traffic. But constriction isn't always physical. Economic growth may be constricted by trade barriers. A narrow, constricted life may be the result of poverty or lack of opportunity. And an actress may feel constricted by a role she played as a child or by her TV character from years ago, which the public refuses to forget.

Examples of constrict in a Sentence

The drug is used to constrict blood vessels. The declining economy has constricted job opportunities. a life constricted by poverty and disease He felt constricted by their notions of what was proper.
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Recent Examples on the Web When caffeine comes charging in, the blood vessels constrict, helping to alleviate the pain. Sara Lindberg, SELF, 2 Dec. 2021 Aid workers accuse Ethiopian officials of using harassment and obstruction to constrict the flow of aid into a region controlled by Tigrayan rebel forces. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Cool compresses, à la the cucumbers on the eyes at a spa, constrict the vessels and reduce undereye bags. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, 22 Nov. 2021 Bee balling is when hundreds of bees swarm together around a hornet to squeeze and constrict it to a point where the hornet can't breathe, CNN reports. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Nov. 2021 His plan draws three of the four districts--all but the 3rd in the northwest corner, which must constrict--toward Little Rock. John Brummett, Arkansas Online, 28 Sep. 2021 Two statements that represent a terrific double bind—a rope thrown by one black woman to constrict another, that surely ends up constricting them both. Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books, 27 Feb. 2020 Goal: Determine optimal treatment—drugs that constrict blood vessels plus limited fluids, or a larger volume of fluids alone—for people with life-threatening septic shock. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, 12 Aug. 2021 The snakes aren’t venomous, and while the ones found in the 312-acre Lacamas Regional Park were considered medium-sized, some larger pythons can grow big enough to constrict their owners, according to Fox News, 23 July 2021

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

1732, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for constrict

Latin constrictus, past participle of constringere — see constrain

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Time Traveler for constrict

Time Traveler

The first known use of constrict was in 1732

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Last Updated

2 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Constrict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for constrict



English Language Learners Definition of constrict

: to make (something) narrower, smaller, or tighter
: to become narrower, smaller, or tighter
: to prevent or keep (something or someone) from developing freely


con·​strict | \ kən-ˈstrikt How to pronounce constrict (audio) \
constricted; constricting

Kids Definition of constrict

: to make narrower, smaller, or tighter by drawing together : squeeze The coldness inside of him had moved upward into his throat constricting it.— Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia


transitive verb
con·​strict | \ kən-ˈstrikt How to pronounce constrict (audio) \

Medical Definition of constrict

1 : to make narrow or draw together constrict the pupil of the eye
2 : to subject (as a body part) to compression constrict a nerve

Other Words from constrict

constrictive \ -​ˈstrik-​tiv How to pronounce constrict (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on constrict

Nglish: Translation of constrict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of constrict for Arabic Speakers


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