restrain

verb re·strain \ ri-ˈstrān \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of restrain

transitive verb
1 a : to prevent from doing, exhibiting, or expressing something
  • restrained the child from jumping
b : to limit, restrict, or keep under control
  • try to restrain your anger
2 : to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of
  • restrain trade
3 : to deprive of liberty; especially : to place under arrest or restraint

restrainable

play \ri-ˈstrā-nə-bəl\ adjective

restrainer

noun

Examples of restrain in a Sentence

  1. He could not restrain the dog from attacking.

  2. He could restrain himself no longer.

  3. Hospital orderlies needed to restrain the patient.

  4. He was restrained and placed in a holding cell.

  5. He could barely restrain his anger.

  6. The manufacturer took measures to restrain costs.

Recent Examples of restrain from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'restrain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of restrain

Middle English restraynen, from Anglo-French restreindre, from Latin restringere to restrain, restrict, from re- + stringere to bind tight — more at strain

Synonym Discussion of restrain

restrain, check, curb, bridle mean to hold back from or control in doing something. restrain suggests holding back by force or persuasion from acting or from going to extremes.
    • restrained themselves from laughing
check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus.
    • trying to check government spending
curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking.
    • learn to curb your appetite
bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in.
    • bridle an impulse to throw the book down

RESTRAIN Defined for English Language Learners

restrain

verb

Definition of restrain for English Language Learners

  • : to prevent (a person or animal) from doing something

  • : to prevent (a person or animal) from moving by using physical force

  • : to keep (something) under control


RESTRAIN Defined for Kids

restrain

verb re·strain \ ri-ˈstrān \

Definition of restrain for Students

restrained; restraining
1 : to keep from doing something
  • I wanted to speak, but restrained myself.
2 : to keep back : curb
  • He couldn't restrain his laughter.

Law Dictionary

restrain

transitive verb re·strain \ ri-ˈstrān \

legal Definition of restrain

1 a : to prevent from doing something — see also restraining order at order 3b
b : to limit, restrict, or keep under control
2 : to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of
3 : to deprive of liberty and especially of physical movement


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up restrain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the significant part of a grievance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!