verb (used with object)

to draw or press in; cause to contract or shrink; compress.
to slow or stop the natural course or development of: Greed and aggressiveness constricted the nation's cultural life.

Origin of constrict

1375–1425 for earlier past participle sense; 1725–35 for current senses; late Middle English < Latin constrīctus (past participle of constringere to draw together, tie up), equivalent to con- con- + strīc- (variant stem of stringere to tie; see strict) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsnon·con·strict·ed, adjectivenon·con·strict·ing, adjectiveun·con·strict·ed, adjectivewell-con·strict·ed, adjective

Synonyms for constrict

Antonyms for constrict

1. expand. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for constricting

Contemporary Examples of constricting

Historical Examples of constricting

  • Exclusiveness is a constricting cord that strangles progress.

  • To them it was a numbing, constricting presence; the abode of darkness and horror.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

  • He gave up and awaited the constricting violence of the tangle strands.

    Tangle Hold

    F. L. Wallace

  • A great lump has sprung into Peggy's throat, constricting the muscles.

    Doctor Cupid

    Rhoda Broughton

  • He was constricting it in his hand and knocking his clenched knuckles on the marble.

    If Winter Comes

    A.S.M. Hutchinson

British Dictionary definitions for constricting


verb (tr)

to make smaller or narrower, esp by contracting at one place
to hold in or inhibit; limit

Word Origin for constrict

C18: from Latin constrictus compressed, from constringere to tie up together; see constrain
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 constricting



early 15c., from Latin constrictus, past participle of constringere "compress" (see constrain). A direct borrowing from Latin of the same word which, via French, became constrain. Related: Constricted; constricting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for constricting




To make smaller or narrower, especially by binding or squeezing.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.