Thesaurus

restrain

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of restrain

1 to keep from exceeding a desirable degree or level (as of expression)
  • the victim's family members were unable to restrain their emotions upon hearing the verdict

Synonyms for restrain

Words Related to restrain

Near Antonyms for restrain

Antonyms for restrain

2 to take or keep under one's control by authority of law
  • the suspect was restrained and taken to an undisclosed location

Synonyms for restrain

Words Related to restrain

Near Antonyms for restrain

Antonyms for restrain

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About restrain

How does the verb restrain contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of restrain are bridle, check, and curb. While all these words mean "to hold back from or control in doing something," restrain suggests holding back by force or persuasion from acting or from going to extremes.

restrained themselves from laughing

When could bridle be used to replace restrain?

The words bridle and restrain can be used in similar contexts, but bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in.

bridle an impulse to throw the book down

When can check be used instead of restrain?

The words check and restrain are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus.

trying to check government spending

Where would curb be a reasonable alternative to restrain?

Although the words curb and restrain have much in common, curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking.

learn to curb your appetite

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about restrain

Time Traveler for restrain

Time Traveler

The first known use of restrain was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Restrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/restrain. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on restrain

Dictionary: Definition of restrain

Spanish Central: Translation of restrain

Nglish: Translation of restrain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of restrain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on restrain

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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