- 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.
- 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 force into, or hold in, close bounds; confine
- to hold back by force; restrain
- to force; compel; oblige: he was constrained to agree
Origin: Middle English constreinen ; from Old French constreindre ; from Classical Latin constringere, to bind together, draw together ; from com-, together plush stringere, to draw tight: see strict
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
transitive verb con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
- To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.
- To keep within close bounds; confine: a life that had been constrained by habit to the same few activities and friends.
- To inhibit or restrain; hold back: “Failing to control the growth of international debt will also constrain living standards” (Ronald Brownstein).
- To produce in a forced or inhibited manner.
Origin: Middle 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.
- con·strainˈa·ble adjective
- con·strainˈed·ly adverb
- con·strainˈer noun