strait·​jack·​et | \ ˈstrāt-ˌja-kət How to pronounce straitjacket (audio) \
variants: or less commonly straightjacket

Definition of straitjacket

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cover or overgarment of strong material (such as canvas) used to bind the body and especially the arms closely in restraining a violent prisoner or patient
2 : something that restricts or confines like a straitjacket


variants: or less commonly straightjacket
straitjacketed also straightjacketed; straitjacketing also straightjacketing; straitjackets also straightjackets

Definition of straitjacket (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to confine in or as if in a straitjacket

Examples of straitjacket in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's when he was challenged by Milwaukee County Sheriff Phillip Westfahl to escape a full-body straitjacket. Barry Adams,, "Milwaukee museum exhibit explores Houdini’s Wisconsin roots," 18 Oct. 2019 His Christopher Boone chews on his words before spitting them out and carries himself with a kind of stiff restlessness, as if wrapped in an invisible straitjacket. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, "‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ is up to some new and mesmerizing tricks," 27 Nov. 2019 He was suspended in a straitjacket from The Milwaukee Journal building in March 1916 and two days later gave a free matinee performance of his act for Milwaukee Journal newsboys. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Houdini spent 4 years in Milwaukee, where he delivered the Daily Journal and learned how to hold his breath in the Milwaukee River," 10 Dec. 2019 By the way, straitjackets aren't used in modern psychiatric medicine. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Provo, Utah, has museums you wouldn't expect and a case of a missing llama," 10 Nov. 2019 By the end of Starcrawler’s set, de Wilde — free of her straitjacket and bewitched by some otherworldly force — left the stage through the crowd, after spending the better part of 30 minutes riling herself into a deranged, explosive fit. Jessi Roti,, "Don’t call 'em a ‘throwback’ band. Starcrawler just wants to rock.," 4 Oct. 2019 Gucci straightjacket In September, Gucci prompted protests for their Milan Fashion Week show, which featured still models in white straitjackets and sandals atop a conveyor belt. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "The worst fashion missteps of 2019, from bullet-hole hoodies to Gucci's straightjacket," 26 Nov. 2019 Michele sent models down the runway wearing white straitjackets and institutional-looking uniforms. Kristin Larson, Fortune, "Gucci Stirs Up Controversy With Straitjackets in Milan Runway Show," 26 Sep. 2019 Luxury label Gucci caused some controversy online yesterday for its use of straitjackets in a series of opening looks meant as a social commentary. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "The loudest critic of Gucci’s latest misstep was one of its own models," 23 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Trump was not straitjacketed by the laws and customs governing foundations, or by the most basic ethical norms. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Trump Foundation’s shocking graft is a big scandal, but a forgotten one," 13 Nov. 2019 Europe is a tough regulatory landscape for big technology companies, with fines raining down on Google, a hefty back-tax bill for Apple, and the threat of new laws to straitjacket how online platforms handle their customers. Washington Post, "Amazon’s Legal Woes Grow in EU as Austria Opens Antitrust Probe," 20 Sep. 2019 But this tick somehow fell into a spider web, and the resident spider promptly straitjacketed its arachnid cousin in loops of silk, either to save it as a snack or to immobilize it as a precaution. National Geographic, "Tick Wrapped in Spider Silk Found Trapped in Amber—A First," 25 May 2018 Critics over the years have accused Muti of straitjacketing the music in the name of fidelity to the score, but there was no rigidity of pacing or phrasing here. John Von Rhein,, "In Salzburg, Muti's return to 'Aida' was worth the wait," 22 Aug. 2017 Highlights from previous eras, including the 1980s pinnacle of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, look shrunken and straitjacketed in comparison. John Branch, New York Times, "The Golden State Warriors Play the Beautiful Game," 25 Oct. 2016 This was long before the Corps of Engineers straitjacketed the once wide and slower-moving river. Darryl Levings, kansascity, "How Kansas City came to fear ‘Pest House Island’," 28 Apr. 2017

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


1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1863, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for straitjacket

Time Traveler

The first known use of straitjacket was in 1814

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Statistics for straitjacket

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Straitjacket.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for straitjacket


How to pronounce straitjacket (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of straitjacket

: a jacket that has long arms which can be tied together behind someone's back and that is used to control the movements of a violent prisoner or patient


variants: also straightjacket \ ˈstrāt-​ˌjak-​ət How to pronounce straightjacket (audio) \

Medical Definition of straitjacket

: a cover or garment of strong material (as canvas) used to bind the body and especially the arms closely in restraining a violent prisoner or patient

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More from Merriam-Webster on straitjacket

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for straitjacket

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with straitjacket

Spanish Central: Translation of straitjacket

Nglish: Translation of straitjacket for Spanish Speakers

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