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



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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 Record cases in many parts of Europe are stoking tension as governments increasingly restrict public life in major cities, where local officials are facing a lockdown-weary public. Rudy Ruitenberg,, "Merkel Sounds Alert With Virus Resurgent in Europe’s Cities," 9 Oct. 2020 Both DeWine, a Republican, and Whitmer, a Democrat, have been praised but also received backlash over their aggressive measures to close businesses and restrict other aspects of public life to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine says he was not notified of alleged plot with Ohio connections to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer," 8 Oct. 2020 Closed meetings restrict shareholders’ rights to hold boards accountable and do not align with the U.K. Corporate Governance Code—a rulebook on good corporate citizenship—the FRC said. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "U.K. Regulator Finds Companies Often Mute Shareholders in Remote Meetings," 7 Oct. 2020 For extreme problems in a clinical trial, when patients or data reliability are at immediate and serious risk, FDA can use warning letters to immediately halt the trial or restrict an IRB from approving new trials. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "FDA’s own documents reveal agency’s lax, slow, and secretive oversight of clinical research," 1 Oct. 2020 Don’t restrict your calorie intake during the eating periods; most of your gut bugs need food to survive, says Devkota. Marnie Schwartz,, "3 Benefits of Fasting for a Healthy Gut," 24 Sep. 2020 An outbreak at San Diego State University, with some 800 students testing positive for the coronavirus, is large enough to put San Diego County over a state threshold for cases that mandates many businesses close or restrict indoor operations. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Sept. 20-21," 24 Sep. 2020 In the WeChat case, the users had argued the moves targeting the all-in-one app with instant-messaging, social media and other communication tools would restrict free speech. Stan Choe,, "Judge delays Trump administration’s restrictions on messaging app WeChat," 20 Sep. 2020 Every state since March has weighed the thorny question of how (or if) governments should restrict how many people may attend church services during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Here's where church services are still restricted," 17 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for restrict

Time Traveler

The first known use of restrict was in 1535

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Statistics for restrict

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Restrict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for restrict


How to pronounce restrict (audio)

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

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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