Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[kuh n-fahyn for 1, 2, 5, 6; kon-fahyn for 3, 4] /kənˈfaɪn for 1, 2, 5, 6; ˈkɒn faɪn for 3, 4/
verb (used with object), confined, confining.
to enclose within bounds; limit or restrict:
She confined her remarks to errors in the report. Confine your efforts to finishing the book.
to shut or keep in; prevent from leaving a place because of imprisonment, illness, discipline, etc.:
For that offense he was confined to quarters for 30 days.
Usually, confines. a boundary or bound; limit; border; frontier.
Often, confines. region; territory.
Archaic. confinement.
Obsolete. a place of confinement; prison.
Origin of confine
1350-1400 for noun; 1515-25 for v.; (noun) Middle English < Middle French confins, confines < Medieval Latin confinia, plural of Latin confinis boundary, border (see con-, fine2); (v.) < Middle French confiner, verbal derivative of confins < Latin, as above
Related forms
confinable, confineable, adjective
confineless, adjective
confiner, noun
nonconfining, adjective
preconfine, verb (used with object), preconfined, preconfining.
quasi-confining, adjective
reconfine, verb (used with object), reconfined, reconfining.
self-confining, adjective
unconfinable, adjective
unconfining, adjective
1. circumscribe.
1, 2. free. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for confines
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In front the day-break was bursting the confines of the bleak racks of cloud.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • He said, voice muffled by the confines of the plastic helmet, "Who are you?"

    Acid Bath Vaseleos Garson
  • There came a moment when it seemed to him that he must have swum beyond the confines of life.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • It was easy to swim like this beyond the confines of life looking at a star.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • We can not possibly break from the confines of our three dimensional world.

    The 4-D Doodler Graph Waldeyer
British Dictionary definitions for confines


verb (transitive) (kənˈfaɪn)
to keep or close within bounds; limit; restrict
to keep shut in; restrict the free movement of: arthritis confined him to bed
noun (ˈkɒnfaɪn)
(often pl) a limit; boundary
Derived Forms
confinable, confineable, adjective
confineless, adjective
confiner, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin confīnāre from Latin confīnis adjacent, from fīnis end, boundary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for confines



c.1400, "boundary, limit" (usually as confines), from Old French confins "boundaries," from Medieval Latin confines, from Latin confinium (plural confinia) "boundary, limit," from confine, neuter of confinis "bordering on, having the same boundaries," from com- "with" (see com-) + finis "an end" (see finish (n.)).



1520s, "to border on," from Middle French confiner, from confins (n.); see confine (n.). Sense of "keeping within limits" is from 1590s. Related: Confined; confining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for confines

Word Value for confines

Scrabble Words With Friends