con·strict | \ kən-ˈstrikt \
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 \ adjective

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

Something that’s constricted your movement might ease. Claire Comstock-gay, The Cut, "Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of May 21," 21 May 2018 Critics already have said the board's plan, which has been in the works for two years, will hurt the economy of the San Joaquin Valley in particular by constricting water for irrigation. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 Buckner and Solomon Thomas make the Niners’ nickel pass rush potentially formidable inside, but if Arik Armstead does not emerge outside, this D has little chance of constricting the pocket. Andy Benoit,, "Jimmy Garoppolo Takes Charge, Richard Sherman Steps In: 10 Thoughts on the 49ers," 18 June 2018 Jason Phillips, the Friant Authority’s chief executive, said hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland would risk going out of production if their water supply remains constricted. Dale Kasler And Phillip Reese, sacbee, "The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water," 13 July 2018 For example, local anesthetics used by dentists are commonly mixed with adrenaline, which constricts blood vessels and keeps bleeding to a minimum. Ronald S. Litman,, "Should I worry about my child being allergic to anesthesia?," 9 July 2018 Or maybe the sharp representational laws that too often constrict the cinematic depiction of minorities should be flexible enough to allow for both progress and regression, the low, the high and everything in between. Justin Chang,, "'Superfly' is a flashy, violent and fitfully compelling remake of the 1972 blaxploitation hit," 12 June 2018 That will put increased pressure on a housing market already constricted by rising prices and low inventory. The Washington Post,, "Mortgage rates reverse course, but decline could be short-lived," 31 May 2018 Yet even refined, synthetic versions of ergotamine can dangerously narrow blood vessels, so doctors and patients welcomed the triptans, which selectively constrict the blood vessels of the brain. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Will antibodies finally put an end to migraines?," 18 May 2018

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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Statistics for constrict

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constrict

The first known use of constrict was in 1732

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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 \
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 \

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 \ adjective

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