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 George Clooney still compares his turn at the Bat to being fitted for a straitjacket. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, "Meet the new Batwoman: New actor steps in after only one season on the CW," 22 Jan. 2021 During that time, he was sedated and put in a straitjacket, his weight plummeted, and his memory vanished. New York Times, "“Final Ascent: The Legend of Hamish MacInnes.”," 3 Dec. 2020 Cunningham’s intensity bolstered a Texas defense that put Indiana in a straitjacket from the jump. Nick Moyle,, "No. 17 Texas thrashes Indiana to move onto Maui Invitational title game," 1 Dec. 2020 Lau has short, punky hair and wore a surgical mask and a thrift-store jacket with straitjacket-style buckles. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Green-Wood Cemetery’s New Artist-in-Residence," 23 Nov. 2020 But many Chileans say the constitution has been a straitjacket on social reforms in a nation where the richest 1% of Chileans control about 33% of the country’s economic wealth, according to a 2017 United Nations report. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "Chile to Hold Referendum on Rewriting Pinochet-Era Constitution," 24 Oct. 2020 Jay keeps the straitjacket on all night, even as his name is called at the rose ceremony. Washington Post, "Bubble envy: The best, worst and weirdest moments from a surreal ‘Bachelorette’ premiere," 14 Oct. 2020 However, producers do consult on these intros, so where was the adult in charge of reining in Jay Smith, the 29-year-old fitness director from Fort Lauderdale, who walked out wearing a straitjacket? Washington Post, "Bubble envy: The best, worst and weirdest moments from a surreal ‘Bachelorette’ premiere," 14 Oct. 2020 But the Planck straitjacket has a few loose buckles, which theorists have fiddled with for years, searching for a way to explain the unexpectedly speedy expansion. Quanta Magazine, "A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin," 8 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hip-hop from that period often incorporated sampling, a technique that was legally straitjacketed by 1991. Jeremy Gordon, New York Times, "Rap Soundtracks the Michael Jordan Doc. The N.B.A. Wasn’t Always That Way.," 3 May 2020 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

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The first known use of straitjacket was in 1814

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Straitjacket.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for straitjacket



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 straitjacket (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

More from Merriam-Webster on straitjacket

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for straitjacket

Nglish: Translation of straitjacket for Spanish Speakers

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