a restraining action or influence: freedom from restraint.
Sometimes restraints. a means of or device for restraining, as a harness for the body.
the act of restraining, holding back, controlling, or checking.
the state or fact of being restrained; deprivation of liberty; confinement.
constraint or reserve in feelings, behavior, etc.

Origin of restraint

1350–1400; Middle English restreinte < Middle French restrainte, noun use of feminine past participle of restraindre to restrain
Related formso·ver·re·straint, nounpre·re·straint, noun

Synonyms for restraint

Antonyms for restraint Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for restraint

Contemporary Examples of restraint

Historical Examples of restraint

  • So this part of my restraint was doubtless a stretch of the authority given him.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • And this idea of restraint was preying upon him, and he could not throw it off.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • And that there can be nothing more painful than the restraint under which I am kept?

  • He cast a glance about him, his eye, avid with curiosity, held rigidly in restraint.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • And so great was his delight that he cast aside all restraint.

British Dictionary definitions for restraint



the ability to control or moderate one's impulses, passions, etcto show restraint
the act of restraining or the state of being restrained
something that restrains; restriction

Word Origin for restraint

C15: from Old French restreinte, from restreindre to restrain
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 restraint

"action of restraining; means of restraint," early 15c., from Old French restreinte, noun use of fem. past participle of restraindre (see restrain). Sense of "reserve" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for restraint




An instrument or a means of restraint to prevent the infliction of harm to self or others, such as a straightjacket.
Control or repression of feelings; constraint.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.