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 But American supporters of diplomacy with Iran have never been particularly interested in the specifics of its nuclear program or how sanctions have worked to constrict the power of the Islamist regime. Jonathan Tobin, Washington Examiner, "Diplomatic malpractice," 22 Apr. 2021 May is a month of rapid plant growth, and netting early may constrict and distort this annual spurt, according to Stanton Gill, a University of Maryland extension specialist. Washington Post, "The cicadas are coming. But gardeners need not panic.," 31 Mar. 2021 Also referred to as a limited- or no-slip collars, a martingale is designed to constrict when a dog pulls on its leash, but never so tightly as to cause harm when properly fitted. Cindy Cantrell,, "Missing Dogs Massachusetts goes all-out to find lost pets," 12 Mar. 2021 Over the last decade, MassArt had to constrict the size and magnitude of the auction based on physical space, said Bascome, founder of Proverb brand agency and a MassArt trustee., "MassArt’s annual auction, virtual this year, supports student scholarships," 24 Mar. 2021 This stress can stretch and constrict the nerve while limiting its blood supply. Hannah Seo, Popular Science, "The best way to prevent arm pain from using your phone too much," 11 Mar. 2021 That's because the compound triggers blood vessels to constrict and reduces blood flow to the brain, ultimately leaving you with a hurting head. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "13 Ways to Get Rid of a Headache Without Medicine," 16 Feb. 2021 That’s when pulmonary blood vessels constrict, ratcheting up pressure in the lungs, causing fluid to leak into the air sacs. New York Times, "How Climbers Reached the Summit of K2 in Winter for the First Time," 19 Jan. 2021 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

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constrict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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

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Comments on constrict

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