re·straint | \ri-ˈstrānt \

Definition of restraint 

1a : an act of restraining : the state of being restrained

b(1) : a means of restraining : a restraining force or influence

(2) : a device that restricts movement a restraint for children riding in cars

2 : a control over the expression of one's emotions or thoughts

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Examples of restraint in a Sentence

Make sure the child safety restraint is in place. The prisoner was placed in restraints. His angry response showed a lack of restraint. The government has acted with restraint in dealing with this crisis.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Middle European restraint and quiet meticulousness versus Iberian bravado and passion. Jon Wertheim,, "'Strokes of Genius' Documentary Commemorates the Iconic Federer-Nadal '08 Wimbledon Final," 26 June 2018 Without legal restraints, SWBTS is free not only to interpret the Bible in a way that emphasizes the submission of women, but to promote and enforce that doctrine on its campus. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "The Religious Right’s #MeToo Reckoning Is Coming," 30 May 2018 The design’s cohesion required multiple image boards and healthy self-restraint. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "A Feminine—And Feminist—Apartment in Hell’s Kitchen Goes Big," 21 May 2018 Regarding the first aspect, Muslims train themselves in self-discipline and self-restraint. Said Ahmed-zaid, idahostatesman, "Finding purpose in fasting during Ramadan | Idaho Statesman," 21 May 2018 Freed of this restraint, the atoms naturally started to drift, causing the cloud to expand. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Clouds of atoms, vibrating mirrors show their quantum side," 28 Apr. 2018 The pilot, who wore a conventional quick-release restraint, survived, but the passengers had no easy way to free themselves. Alex Davies, WIRED, "New FAA Rules Take Aim at Dangerous Helicopter Flights," 16 Mar. 2018 David, a burly, 6-foot-1-inch 20-year-old who spent most of his appointments with Aran wearing physical restraints, became gentle enough to hug his sister. Debra Kamin, Newsweek, "Is Marijuana the World’s Most Effective Treatment for Autism?," 15 Feb. 2018 Judge Kavanaugh considers textualism to be an important restraint on judges that prevents them from imposing their policy preferences. David B. Rivkin Jr. And Andrew M. Grossman, WSJ, "A Champion of Constitutional Safeguards," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'restraint.' 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 restraint

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for restraint

Middle English, from Anglo-French restreinte, from restreindre

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Phrases Related to restraint

under restraint

Statistics for restraint

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for restraint

The first known use of restraint was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for restraint



English Language Learners Definition of restraint

: a way of limiting, controlling, or stopping something

: a device that limits a person's movement

: control over your emotions or behavior


re·straint | \ri-ˈstrānt \

Kids Definition of restraint

1 : the act of stopping or holding back : the state of being stopped or held back

2 : a force or influence that stops or holds back

3 : control over thoughts or feelings You're angry, but show restraint.


re·straint | \ri-ˈstrānt \

Medical Definition of restraint 

: a device that restricts movement restraints such as straitjackets for violent patients

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re·straint | \ri-ˈstrānt \

Legal Definition of restraint 

1a : an act or fact of restraining — see also prior restraint

b : the state of being restrained

2a : a means of restraining

b : a device that restricts movement (as of prisoners or violent psychiatric patients)

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Comments on restraint

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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