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 constrictive (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 Known as the Cryogenian Period, the era lasted from approximately 720 million to 635 million years ago, severely constricting the oxygen supply on the planet. Fox News, "'Snowball Earth' discovery: Experts reveal how life survived prehistoric ice age," 26 Nov. 2019 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has pushed for relaxing state and local zoning laws that housing experts agree constrict housing supply and therefore drive up the number of people without homes. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "White House readies California homelessness plan after ousting top official," 21 Nov. 2019 The umbrella term of bariatric surgery refers to a type of surgery that constricts the stomach or digestive system to limit calorie intake, leading to weight loss. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Insurers should cover weight-loss surgery for kids at risk of early death, doctors say," 27 Oct. 2019 Happy buyers say the leggings aren’t too constricting on their bellies, and many note the fabric feels great. Camryn Rabideau, USA TODAY, "10 cult favorite leggings and yoga pants you can buy at Nordstrom," 12 Nov. 2019 Those advisors didn’t fully grasp the limits of export controls in constricting supply chains that reach deeply into China., "U.S. companies find ways around Trump’s Huawei blacklist," 26 June 2019 Those advisers didn’t fully grasp the limits of export controls in constricting supply chains that reach deeply into China. Time, "U.S. Companies Are Finding Ways to Work Around Trump’s Huawei Blacklist," 26 June 2019 But then again, existentially, everything felt constricting around me too. Matt Ortile, SELF, "Whenever My Life Feels Out of Control, I Go to Ballet Class," 16 Aug. 2018 When quarterback Frank Harris went down with a season-ending shoulder injury Sept. 21 against North Texas, the Roadrunners’ play-calling was constricted. Greg Luca,, "UTSA offense showing explosive potential under QB Narcisse," 19 Nov. 2019

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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constrict.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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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 constrictive (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on constrict

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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