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  1. a restraining action or influence: freedom from restraint.
  2. Sometimes restraints. a means of or device for restraining, as a harness for the body.
  3. the act of restraining, holding back, controlling, or checking.
  4. the state or fact of being restrained; deprivation of liberty; confinement.
  5. constraint or reserve in feelings, behavior, etc.

Origin of restraint

1350–1400; Middle English restreinte < Middle French restrainte, noun use of feminine past participle of restraindre to restrain
Related formso·ver·re·straint, nounpre·re·straint, noun


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4. circumscription, restriction, imprisonment, incarceration.


4. liberty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for restraint


  1. the ability to control or moderate one's impulses, passions, etcto show restraint
  2. the act of restraining or the state of being restrained
  3. something that restrains; restriction

Word Origin

C15: from Old French restreinte, from restreindre to restrain
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

Word Origin and History for restraint


"action of restraining; means of restraint," early 15c., from Old French restreinte, noun use of fem. past participle of restraindre (see restrain). Sense of "reserve" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

restraint in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. An instrument or a means of restraint to prevent the infliction of harm to self or others, such as a straightjacket.
  2. Control or repression of feelings; constraint.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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