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constraint

[kuh n-streynt] /kənˈstreɪnt/
noun
1.
limitation or restriction.
2.
repression of natural feelings and impulses:
to practice constraint.
3.
unnatural restraint in manner, conversation, etc.; embarrassment.
4.
something that constrains.
5.
the act of constraining.
6.
the condition of being constrained.
7.
Linguistics. a restriction on the operation of a linguistic rule or the occurrence of a linguistic construction.
Origin of constraint
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English constreinte < Middle French, noun use of feminine past participle of constreindre; see constrain
Related forms
nonconstraint, noun
Synonyms
1. force, obligation, pressure.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for constraint
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The lawyer's face sobered, and his tone as he answered was tinged with constraint.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • But then there was constraint in the correspondence—it was submitted to her mother.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But, placid as she was, my mother was authoritative, and could not endure any kind of constraint.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Vere felt that somehow her eager suggestion had deepened the constraint.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • At length the clerk came up to him with awkward manners and a look of constraint.

    The Christian Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for constraint

constraint

/kənˈstreɪnt/
noun
1.
compulsion, force, or restraint
2.
repression or control of natural feelings or impulses
3.
a forced unnatural manner; inhibition
4.
something that serves to constrain; restrictive condition: social constraints kept him silent
5.
(linguistics) any very general restriction on a sentence formation rule
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
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Word Origin and History for constraint
n.

late 14c., "distress, oppression," from Old French constreinte "binding, constraint, compulsion" (Modern French contrainte), fem. noun from constreint, past participle of constreindre, from Vulgar Latin *constrinctus, from Latin constrictus (see constrain). Meaning "coercion, compulsion" is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
15
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