- When you limit someone's freedom, this is an example of a situation where you constrain that person.
- When you compel someone to follow a specific course of action, this is an example of a situation where you constrain that person.
- When you force yourself to act in a certain manner, this is an example of a situation where you constrain your behavior.
To constrain is to impose limitations or restrictions on someone or something, or to force yourself or someone else to act in a certain way.
- to force into, or hold in, close bounds; confine
- to hold back by force; restrain
- to force; compel; oblige: he was constrained to agree
Origin of constrainMiddle English constreinen from Old French constreindre from Classical Latin constringere, to bind together, draw together from com-, together + stringere, to draw tight: see strict
transitive verbcon·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
- a. To keep within certain limits; confine or limit: “Legislators … used the power of the purse to constrain the size of the military” ( Julian E. Zelizer )b. To inhibit or restrain; hold back: “She noticed her mother blushing and acting somewhat constrained in her conversation with the grandmother” ( David Huddle )
- To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object to his behavior.
- To produce in a forced or inhibited manner: “This smile seemed to touch something off in her … and playfully she constrained her own roguish smile” ( Naeem Murr )
Origin of constrainMiddle English constreinen from Old French constraindre constraign- from Latin cōnstringere to restrain, compress com- com- stringere to bind, press together ; see streig- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present constrains, present participle constraining, simple past and past participle constrained)