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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for restrict


cap, circumscribe, confine, hold down, limit



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But if history is a guide, the GOP leader isn't likely to accept any legislation that would restrict Americans' ability to purchase firearms. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Despite back-to-back mass shootings, McConnell unlikely to accept gun control legislation," 3 Aug. 2019 Republican lawmakers tried restricting public access to all body camera footage during the 2017-2018 session. Seth A. Richardson,, "GM auto workers are going on strike: The Flyover," 16 Sep. 2019 Maryland’s largest jurisdiction will introduce legislation Tuesday to restrict access to e-cigarettes for young adults and teenagers, joining a growing wave of jurisdictions trying to address underage vaping. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Anti-vaping bills would close 19 of 22 vape shops in Maryland’s largest jurisdiction," 16 Sep. 2019 Metro has attempted to restrict access but people still frequent the area. oregonlive, "Portland City council votes to fund cleanup plan on superfund site," 12 Sep. 2019 Large pharmaceutical companies have continually engaged in the strategic accumulation of patents to restrict patient access to more affordable drugs by delaying the entry of generic options into the market. CNN, "Big Pharma is abusing patents, and it's hurting Americans," 12 Sep. 2019 But business with Iraq is plagued by corruption and security problems ; Jordan and Israel have a peace deal, but few Jordanians support normalizing economic ties, and Israel restricts Jordan’s access to Palestinian territories’ markets. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "U.S. punishes Syria with sanctions — but allies like Jordan also pay a price," 10 Sep. 2019 State officials have advocated for more regulation of vaping devices, while local governments have already taken steps to restrict access, such as Aspen’s ban on the sale of all flavored nicotine products. Jessica Seaman, The Denver Post, "As death toll increases nationwide, parents confirm Colorado college student was hospitalized with vaping-related illness," 6 Sep. 2019 That includes building a way to restrict access to parts of the site during emergency situations. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "8chan Tells Congress It’s ‘Voluntarily’ Offline. What’s Next for the Message Board Favored by Mass Shooters," 5 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of restrict

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for restrict

Latin restrictus, past participle of restringere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about restrict

Statistics for restrict

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for restrict

The first known use of restrict was in 1535

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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