self-re·​straint ˌself-ri-ˈstrānt How to pronounce self-restraint (audio)
: restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires : self-control
A bitter answer leaped to his tongue, but he was learning self-restraint.Somerset Maugham

Examples of self-restraint in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Unfortunately, this kind of self-restraint may be easier said than done, particularly when the market demands newer and better products. IEEE Spectrum, 29 Oct. 2023 So has Swift: Her voice has matured, no longer possessing the sweet self-restraint that colored her earliest releases. Maria Sherman,, 7 July 2023 These points support my argument that the present is a deviation from more than three decades of the preceding Chinese leadership’s relative self-restraint on economic intervention. Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Foreign Affairs, 3 Oct. 2023 The autocrat’s Achilles’ heel is an inherent lack of credible self-restraint. Adam S. Posen, Foreign Affairs, 2 Aug. 2023 This has been due to a combination of creative diplomacy, military deterrence, and self-restraint on the part of China, Taiwan and the United States. David Sacks, Foreign Affairs, 15 June 2023 That’s especially true in the city, where piloting this variant of the best-selling Lamborghini of all time requires epic self-restraint. Jeremy Taylor, Robb Report, 11 June 2023 It was found in acts of self-restraint that gave space to individuals to better their condition. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 10 June 2023 The first mystery box tag team challenge proved a little too much for Krissi’s abilities as well as her self-restraint. Joe Bastianich, Peoplemag, 7 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-restraint.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-restraint was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near self-restraint

Cite this Entry

“Self-restraint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: proper control over one's actions or emotions

More from Merriam-Webster on self-restraint

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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