re·​strain | \ ri-ˈstrān How to pronounce restrain (audio) \
restrained; restraining; restrains

Definition of restrain

transitive verb

1a : to prevent from doing, exhibiting, or expressing something restrained the child from jumping
b : to limit, restrict, or keep under control try to restrain your anger
2 : to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of restrain trade
3 : to deprive of liberty especially : to place under arrest or restraint

Other Words from restrain

restrainable \ ri-​ˈstrā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce restrain (audio) \ adjective
restrainer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for restrain

restrain, check, curb, bridle 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 check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus. trying to check government spending curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking. learn to curb your appetite bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in. bridle an impulse to throw the book down

Examples of restrain in a Sentence

He could not restrain the dog from attacking. He could restrain himself no longer. Hospital orderlies needed to restrain the patient. He was restrained and placed in a holding cell. He could barely restrain his anger. The manufacturer took measures to restrain costs. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Fed’s policies to restrain demand and wrestle inflation lower are expected to hurt the economy. Jeanna Smialek,, 22 June 2022 The Fed’s policies to restrain demand and wrestle inflation lower are expected to hurt the economy. New York Times, 22 June 2022 Tasers are designed to temporarily incapacitate or restrain a person when lethal force isn’t appropriate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has reviewed other police agencies’ use of stun guns, including the Portland Police Bureau. oregonlive, 22 June 2022 Harvey would then warn the guard to check on Colvin — afterward, launching a sneak attack to restrain the deputy and take her keys. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 Iran has put military pressure on Washington to restrain Israel. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, 16 June 2022 Wednesday’s unsigned opinion stated the legislature may have the power to pass laws that restrain the attorney general’s actions, but the court has no authority to order lawmakers to direct how the attorney general performs his duties. cleveland, 8 June 2022 Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, questioned whether the Ukrainian government could restrain itself as promised from using the weapons to strike targets inside Russia. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 7 June 2022 In Nashville, Tennessee, three Inglewood Elementary School staffers sprang into action last month to restrain a man who had hopped a fence. John Raby, Anchorage Daily News, 4 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'restrain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of restrain

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

History and Etymology for restrain

Middle English restraynen, from Anglo-French restreindre, from Latin restringere to restrain, restrict, from re- + stringere to bind tight — more at strain

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Time Traveler for restrain

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

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Restrain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for restrain


re·​strain | \ ri-ˈstrān How to pronounce restrain (audio) \
restrained; restraining

Kids Definition of restrain

1 : to keep from doing something I wanted to speak, but restrained myself.
2 : to keep back : curb He couldn't restrain his laughter.


transitive verb
re·​strain | \ ri-ˈstrān How to pronounce restrain (audio) \

Legal Definition of restrain

1a : to prevent from doing something — see also restraining order at order sense 3b
b : to limit, restrict, or keep under control
2 : to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of
3 : to deprive of liberty and especially of physical movement

More from Merriam-Webster on restrain

Nglish: Translation of restrain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of restrain for Arabic Speakers


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