Synonym Chooser

How is the word constrain different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of constrain are coerce, compel, force, and oblige. While all these words mean "to make someone or something yield," constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice.

constrained by conscience

When could coerce be used to replace constrain?

Although the words coerce and constrain have much in common, coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure.

coerced into signing over the rights

When would compel be a good substitute for constrain?

The meanings of compel and constrain largely overlap; however, compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force.

compelled to admit my mistake

Where would force be a reasonable alternative to constrain?

While the synonyms force and constrain are close in meaning, force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress.

forced to flee for their lives

When is oblige a more appropriate choice than constrain?

In some situations, the words oblige and constrain are roughly equivalent. However, oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty.

felt obliged to go

Thesaurus Entries Near constrain

Cite this Entry

“Constrain.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on constrain

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