re·​straint | \ ri-ˈstrānt How to pronounce restraint (audio) \

Definition of restraint

1a : an act of restraining : the state of being restrained
b(1) : a means of restraining : a restraining force or influence
(2) : a device that restricts movement a restraint for children riding in cars
2 : a control over the expression of one's emotions or thoughts

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Examples of restraint in a Sentence

Make sure the child safety restraint is in place. The prisoner was placed in restraints. His angry response showed a lack of restraint. The government has acted with restraint in dealing with this crisis.
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Recent Examples on the Web The employee was later placed on administrative leave because of an improper use of a restraint technique. Dave Altimari,, 11 Oct. 2021 In 2019, Broner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of assault and unlawful restraint and was sentenced to probation. Kaitlin Lewis, The Enquirer, 10 Oct. 2021 Sequel Youth and Family Services, the owner of Lakeside Academy, told CNN last summer that the staff's actions were not in line with the facility's restraint policy. Jennifer Henderson And Melissa Alonso, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 First, everyone could benefit from a healthy dose of self-restraint. Rita Numerof, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 The Keep Nine amendment is a neutral rule that would constrain both sides equally, and would not require the self-restraint of relying on norms. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 29 July 2021 The members of this group were skilled in the arts of self-restraint. Wallace Shawn, The New Republic, 29 June 2021 Where Ramadan teaches us self-restraint, self-reflection, to reset and reestablish productive and meaningful habits, Eid is a time to rejoice with the global Muslim community. Harper's BAZAAR, 24 May 2021 No one has ever been considered cool for exhibiting superhuman self-restraint. Juliana Piskorz,, 20 May 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for restraint

Middle English, from Anglo-French restreinte, from restreindre

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Learn More About restraint

Time Traveler for restraint

Time Traveler

The first known use of restraint was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near restraint

restraining order


restraint of marriage

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Statistics for restraint

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Restraint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for restraint



English Language Learners Definition of restraint

: a way of limiting, controlling, or stopping something
: a device that limits a person's movement
: control over your emotions or behavior


re·​straint | \ ri-ˈstrānt How to pronounce restraint (audio) \

Kids Definition of restraint

1 : the act of stopping or holding back : the state of being stopped or held back
2 : a force or influence that stops or holds back
3 : control over thoughts or feelings You're angry, but show restraint.


re·​straint | \ ri-ˈstrānt How to pronounce restraint (audio) \

Medical Definition of restraint

: a device that restricts movement restraints such as straitjackets for violent patients

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re·​straint | \ ri-ˈstrānt How to pronounce restraint (audio) \

Legal Definition of restraint

1a : an act or fact of restraining — see also prior restraint
b : the state of being restrained
2a : a means of restraining
b : a device that restricts movement (as of prisoners or violent psychiatric patients)

More from Merriam-Webster on restraint

Nglish: Translation of restraint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of restraint for Arabic Speakers


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