constrain

verb
con·​strain | \ kən-ˈstrān How to pronounce constrain (audio) \
constrained; constraining; constrains

Definition of constrain

transitive verb

1a : to force by imposed stricture, restriction, or limitation Teenagers often feel constrained by rules. an artist constrained by a client's requirements
b : to restrict the motion of (a mechanical body) to a particular mode
2 : compress also : to clasp tightly
3 : to secure by or as if by bonds : confine constrained to a dungeon broadly : limit
4 : to force or produce in an unnatural or strained manner a constrained smile
5 : to hold back by or as if by force " … constraining my mind not to wander from the task."— Charles Dickens

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Other Words from constrain

constrainedly \ kən-​ˈstrā-​nəd-​lē How to pronounce constrain (audio) , -​ˈstrānd-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for constrain

force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige mean to make someone or something yield. 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 compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force. compelled to admit my mistake coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure. coerced into signing over the rights constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice. constrained by conscience oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty. felt obliged to go

Examples of constrain in a Sentence

constrained by conscience to tell only the truth constrained his anger at the needless interruption
Recent Examples on the Web That disconnect could constrain the growing movement to break the companies up. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Sixteen states don’t cover hearing aids for adults; others constrain eligibility for long-term care. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 28 June 2021 Last Friday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers proposed a slate of bills to constrain Big Tech, including a bill that seeks to make Amazon and other large companies effectively split into two companies or shed their private-label products. Evelyn Freja, WSJ, 16 June 2021 Constitutions constrain the power of governments by defining in precise terms who has what rights, what rights form the basis of legal decisions and how political power is dispersed among institutions. Brendan Szendro, The Conversation, 16 June 2021 But both could help constrain the other processes that can make phosphine, from volcanism to atmospheric alchemy. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, 2 June 2021 Gray military buildings, fences and roads cannot constrain the life bursting out of the rows of tents and airport hangars where people sleep. Saphora Smith, NBC News, 25 Aug. 2021 The loss or failure of any one component would severely constrain its productive capacity. Standish Fleming, Forbes, 29 June 2021 More extensive studies of Proxima Centauri’s wobbles could then better constrain the planet’s mass and orbit, placing tighter limits on the possibilities for life there and potentially revealing more planets. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 24 Aug. 2016

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for constrain

Middle English, from Anglo-French constraindre, from Latin constringere to constrict, constrain, from com- + stringere to draw tight — more at strain

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Time Traveler for constrain

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near constrain

constr

constrain

constrainedness

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Statistics for constrain

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/constrain. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for constrain

constrain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of constrain

: to limit or restrict (something or someone)
: to use pressure to force (someone) to do something

constrain

verb
con·​strain | \ kən-ˈstrān How to pronounce constrain (audio) \
constrained; constraining

Kids Definition of constrain

1 : compel sense 1, force He was constrained to retire because of ill health.
2 : to restrict or limit She felt the rules constrained her creativity.

More from Merriam-Webster on constrain

Nglish: Translation of constrain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of constrain for Arabic Speakers

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