[ kuh n-streynd ]
/ kənˈstreɪnd /


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

Nearby words

  1. constitutionalize,
  2. constitutionally,
  3. constitutive,
  4. constr.,
  5. constrain,
  6. constraint,
  7. constrict,
  8. constriction,
  9. constriction ring,
  10. constrictive

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


[ kuhn-streyn ]
/ kənˈstreɪn /

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 forms
Can be confusedcoerce compel constrain force oblige Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for constrained

British Dictionary definitions for constrained


/ (kənˈstreɪnd) /


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


/ (kənˈstreɪn) /

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