verb (used with object)
  1. to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress: to restrain one's temper.
  2. to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
  3. 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 formsre·strain·a·ble, adjectivere·strain·a·bil·i·ty, nounre·strain·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·re·strain, verb (used with object)pre·re·strain, verb (used with object)un·re·strain·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedrefrain restrainre-strain restrain

Synonyms for restrain

Synonym study

1. See check1.

Antonyms for restrain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for restrainable

Historical Examples of restrainable

British Dictionary definitions for restrainable


verb (tr)
  1. to hold (someone) back from some action, esp by force
  2. to deprive (someone) of liberty, as by imprisonment
  3. to limit or restrict
Derived Formsrestrainable, adjective

Word Origin for restrain

C14 restreyne, from Old French restreindre, from Latin rēstringere to draw back tightly, from re- + stringere to draw, bind; see strain 1
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 restrainable



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