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See more synonyms for constipate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), con·sti·pat·ed, con·sti·pat·ing.
  1. to cause constipation in; make costive.
  2. Informal. to cause to become slow-moving or immobilized; restrict the action or effectiveness of: Bureaucratic red tape can constipate the operations of any government agency.
  3. Obsolete. to crowd or pack closely together.
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Origin of constipate

1375–1425; late Middle English (past participle) < Latin constīpātus (past participle of constīpāre), equivalent to con- con- + stīpā- (stem of stīpāre to crowd, press) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsun·con·sti·pat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for constipate

Historical Examples

  • Opium so employed does not produce narcotism, and does not constipate the bowels.

    Scientific American Supplement No. 299


  • Brandy is decidedly injurious, it heats and inflames the throat, and tends to constipate the bowels.

    Advice to Singers

    Frederick James Crowest

  • The saccharated carbonate of iron is a beautiful preparation that does not constipate—is, indeed, a little laxative in action.

    A Manual of Toy Dogs

    Mrs. Leslie Williams

  • There are some foods that tend to constipate while others act as a laxative.

  • Do not give the laudanum unless demanded by the severity of the pain, as it tends to constipate.

    Special Report on Diseases of Cattle

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

British Dictionary definitions for constipate


  1. (tr) to cause constipation in
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin constīpāre to press closely together, from stīpāre to crowd together
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 constipate


1530s, in part a back-formation from constipation, in part from Latin constipatus, past participle of constipare (see constipation). Earlier as an adjective (early 15c.); an earlier verb in this sense was constipen (late 14c.). Related: Constipated; constipating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

constipate in Medicine


  1. To cause constipation in the bowels.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.