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[ri-streyn] /rɪˈstreɪn/
verb (used with object)
to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress:
to restrain one's temper.
to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of:
to restrain trade with Cuba.
Origin of restrain
1350-1400; Middle English restreynen < Middle French restreindre < Latin restringere to bind back, bind fast, equivalent to re- re- + stringere to draw together; see strain1
Related forms
restrainable, adjective
restrainability, noun
restrainingly, adverb
overrestrain, verb (used with object)
prerestrain, verb (used with object)
unrestrainable, adjective
Can be confused
refrain, restrain.
re-strain, restrain.
1. bridle, suppress, constrain. 2. restrict, circumscribe, confine, hinder, hamper.
1. unbridle. 2. free, liberate.
Synonym Study
1. See check1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unrestrainable
Historical Examples
  • She would have been distressed at any time by this discovery of the letters; but so much so, and in that unrestrainable way?

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • The sounds poured and rolled in unrestrainable, overwhelming waves.

    From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky
  • The Flamingo was worked into dock, and a cheering crowd surged aboard of her in unrestrainable thousands.

    A Master of Fortune

    Cutcliffe Hyne
  • There is something inevitable, unrestrainable about the great books; they seemed to come despite the author.

  • The lovely, firm, red lips became creased from unrestrainable happiness at sight of him.

    The Awakening

    Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy
  • Here her unrestrainable high spirits and levity gave great offence to the citizens.

  • And Missy, for some reason, grew sort of cross, too; she resented the other girls' unrestrainable hilarity.

    Missy Dana Gatlin
  • Through a mist of unrestrainable tears he watched fixedly till the group had vanished in the cabin.

    The Cottage of Delight Will N. Harben
  • Shock from a coated jar; perhaps an unrestrainable ethereal fluid yet unobserved; electric condensation.

British Dictionary definitions for unrestrainable


verb (transitive)
to hold (someone) back from some action, esp by force
to deprive (someone) of liberty, as by imprisonment
to limit or restrict
Derived Forms
restrainable, adjective
Word Origin
C14 restreyne, from Old French restreindre, from Latin rēstringere to draw back tightly, from re- + stringere to draw, bind; see strain1
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 unrestrainable



mid-14c., from stem of Old French restreindre "press, push together; curb, bridle; bandage" (12c.), from Latin restringere "draw back tightly, confine, check" (see restriction). Related: Restrained; restraining.

That which we restrain we keep within limits; that which we restrict we keep within certain definite limits; that which we repress we try to put out of existence. [Century Dictionary, 1902]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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