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.

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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 First, blood vessels constrict to reduce blood flow to our skin and reduce heat loss in the body’s core. New York Times, "When the Weather Outside Is Frightful, Here’s How to Stay Warm," 21 Dec. 2020 Home users of electric stoves know the burners must gradually warm up to temperature, which is fine for individual home use, but could constrict the timelines of a brewery that makes 15 million servings of beer a year, for example. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Burning Iron for Fuel Sounds Crazy. It's Also the Future.," 9 Nov. 2020 That uncertainty will likely constrict a free-agent market that has already slowed in recent years. Nathan Ruiz,, "Mike Elias ‘hopeful’ Orioles will be able to keep, add to baseball operations staff amid pandemic | NOTES," 4 Nov. 2020 The modern judicial-conservative program has been to constrict rather than to expand the clause’s substantive reach, and to leave fundamental moral questions to the states. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "How Would Amy Coney Barrett Rule as a Supreme Court Justice?," 14 Oct. 2020 According to Hayag, the cool temperature of the metal applicator helps to constrict swollen blood vessels, which helps to reduce under eye bags. Marianne Mychaskiw, Harper's BAZAAR, "Two Busy (and Tired) Women Put This Powerful Eye Serum to the Test," 21 Sep. 2020 At Wastelander difficulty or above, however, the game's own toughness will constrict your choices significantly. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Wasteland 3 impressions: Post-apocalyptic tactics, ethics, and economics," 26 Aug. 2020 In this research, Caplan examines how stars constrict and die, in a process that almost mimics biodegradation of a living thing. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Sad! This Is When the Universe Will Truly End," 24 Aug. 2020 Round ligament pain can also happen if the ligaments constrict or spasm, or if nerve fibers close by become irritated, the Mayo Clinic explains. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Lightning Crotch, Back Pain, and 6 Other Pregnancy Pains That Are Totally Normal," 14 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for constrict

Last Updated

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constrict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for constrict


How to pronounce constrict (audio)

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

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