[kuh n-streynd]


forced, compelled, or obliged: a constrained confession.
stiff or unnatural; uneasy or embarrassed: a constrained manner.

Origin of constrained

First recorded in 1565–75; constrain + -ed2
Related formscon·strain·ed·ly [kuh n-strey-nid-lee] /kənˈstreɪ nɪd li/, adverbun·con·strained, adjective



verb (used with object)

to force, compel, or oblige: He was constrained to admit the offense.
to confine forcibly, as by bonds.
to repress or restrain: Cold weather constrained the plant's growth.

Origin of constrain

1275–1325; Middle English constrei(g)nen < Anglo-French, Middle French constrei(g)n- (stem of constreindre) < Latin constringere. See con-, strain1
Related formscon·strain·a·ble, adjectivecon·strain·er, nouncon·strain·ing·ly, adverbnon·con·strain·ing, adjectiveun·con·strain·a·ble, adjectiveun·con·strain·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcoerce compel constrain force oblige

Synonyms for constrain

1. coerce. 2. check, bind.

Antonyms for constrain

2. free. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for constrained

strained, embarrassed, awkward, stiff, uneasy, unnatural

Examples from the Web for constrained

Contemporary Examples of constrained

Historical Examples of constrained

British Dictionary definitions for constrained



embarrassed, unnatural, or forceda constrained smile
Derived Formsconstrainedly (kənˈstreɪnɪdlɪ), adverb


verb (tr)

to compel or force, esp by persuasion, circumstances, etc; oblige
to restrain by or as if by force; confine
Derived Formsconstrainer, noun

Word Origin for constrain

C14: from Old French constreindre, from Latin constringere to bind together, from stringere to bind
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 constrained



early 14c., constreyen, from stem of Old French constreindre (Modern French contraindre) "restrain, control," from Latin constringere "to bind together, tie tightly, fetter, shackle, chain," from com- "together" (see com-) + stringere "to draw tight" (see strain (v.)). Related: Constrained; constraining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper