[kuh n-fahyn-muh nt]
  1. the act of confining.
  2. the state of being confined.
  3. the lying-in of a woman in childbed; accouchement; childbirth.
  4. Military. incarceration in a guardhouse or prison while awaiting trial or as a punishment (distinguished from arrest).

Origin of confinement

1640–50; confine + -ment; compare French confinement
Related formsnon·con·fine·ment, nounpost·con·fine·ment, nounpre·con·fine·ment, nounself-con·fine·ment, nounsem·i·con·fine·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for self-confinement


  1. the act of confining or the state of being confined
  2. the period from the onset of labour to the birth of a child
  3. physics another name for containment (def. 3)
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 self-confinement



1590s, from French confinement (16c.; the Old French word was confinacion), from confiner (see confine). As a euphemism for "childbed" it dates from 1774 (the Middle English expression was Our Lady's bands).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self-confinement in Medicine


  1. The act of restricting or the state of being restricted in movement.
  2. Lying-in.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.