Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.


tr.v. con·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).
2. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object to his behavior.
3. 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).

[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·strain′a·ble adj.
con·strain′ed·ly (-strā′nĭd-lē) adv.
con·strain′er n.


able to be constrained
References in periodicals archive ?
Privacy must be constrainable, as in the cases of conditional privacy and revocability.
The underlying reality is two-fold: first, that mankind has to live for the rest of history with the availability of infinite destructive power, as currently exemplified by nuclear knowledge; second, that because major war is not a constrainable activity it can never again happen between advanced powers on crucial issues without some nuclear-weapon risk, whether or not nuclear armouries exist at the beginning.
Full browser ?