re·​strict | \ ri-ˈstrikt How to pronounce restrict (audio) \
restricted; restricting; restricts

Definition of restrict

transitive verb

1 : to confine within bounds : restrain
2 : to place under restrictions as to use or distribution

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Synonyms & Antonyms for restrict


cap, circumscribe, confine, hold down, limit



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Choose the Right Synonym for restrict

limit, restrict, circumscribe, confine mean to set bounds for. limit implies setting a point or line (as in time, space, speed, or degree) beyond which something cannot or is not permitted to go. visits are limited to 30 minutes restrict suggests a narrowing or tightening or restraining within or as if within an encircling boundary. laws intended to restrict the freedom of the press circumscribe stresses a restriction on all sides and by clearly defined boundaries. the work of the investigating committee was carefully circumscribed confine suggests severe restraint and a resulting cramping, fettering, or hampering. our choices were confined by finances

Examples of restrict in a Sentence

Her eye problem restricts her reading. She was told to restrict the amount of salt she uses. The new law restricts smoking in public places. They have accused the government of trying to restrict free speech. They say the government is trying to restrict them from speaking out.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Local governments could prohibit use on sidewalks or streets with speed limits above 25 mph and restrict public rentals., "Wisconsin’s governor is ready to legalize electric scooters across the state," 8 July 2019 But opportunities for women in sports have been cut off or restricted for too long. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Messages matter, and teams in World Cup final send good one with female coaches," 7 July 2019 Those businesses are no longer as profitable because regulators have restricted banks’ use of borrowed money. Jack Ewing,, "Long-ailing Deutsche Bank will lose 18,000 jobs in overhaul," 7 July 2019 Earlier this summer, Biden struggled to respond to questions about his decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding of abortions. Matt Viser, The Denver Post, "Joe Biden says he regrets his comments on segregationist senators," 6 July 2019 Ten states now have laws that limit enforcement of federal immigration laws by cities and counties, and more than 400 counties around the country restrict their engagement with ICE. Jeff Gammage, ProPublica, "ACLU Sues Pennsylvania State Police, Alleging They’ve Overstepped in Acting as Immigration Authorities," 5 July 2019 After years spent severely restricted, Emily can feel the freedom of democracy coursing through her. Elena Nicolaou,, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: A Criminal Record," 5 July 2019 The street celebrations in the country's capital came after months of mass demonstrations and the ousting of dictator Omar al-Bashir, who restricted Sudanese civil rights and allowed inflation to skyrocket. NBC News, "Sudan's rival groups reach power-sharing agreement after mass protests," 5 July 2019 Although China insists the camps are voluntary training centers, when CNN attempted to visit them in May security guards restricted access to the buildings. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Erdogan says Xinjiang camps shouldn't spoil Turkey-China relationship," 5 July 2019

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

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for restrict

Latin restrictus, past participle of restringere

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Statistics for restrict

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for restrict

The first known use of restrict was in 1535

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More Definitions for restrict



English Language Learners Definition of restrict

: to limit the amount or range of (something)
: to prevent (someone) from doing something
: to allow (someone) to only have or do a particular thing


re·​strict | \ ri-ˈstrikt How to pronounce restrict (audio) \
restricted; restricting

Kids Definition of restrict

: to keep within bounds : set limits to


transitive verb

Legal Definition of restrict

1 : to subject to bounds or limits restrict the height of buildings restrict visitation rights
2 : to place under restrictions as to use or distribution restricted the land to recreational use

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More from Merriam-Webster on restrict

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with restrict

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for restrict

Spanish Central: Translation of restrict

Nglish: Translation of restrict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of restrict for Arabic Speakers

Comments on restrict

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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