verb (used with object)

to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress: to restrain one's temper.
to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unrestrainable

Historical Examples of unrestrainable

  • She would have been distressed at any time by this discovery of the letters; but so much so, and in that unrestrainable way?

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The sounds poured and rolled in unrestrainable, overwhelming waves.

    From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan

    Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky

  • The Flamingo was worked into dock, and a cheering crowd surged aboard of her in unrestrainable thousands.

    A Master of Fortune

    Cutcliffe Hyne

  • There is something inevitable, unrestrainable about the great books; they seemed to come despite the author.

  • The lovely, firm, red lips became creased from unrestrainable happiness at sight of him.

    The Awakening

    Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy

British Dictionary definitions for unrestrainable


verb (tr)

to hold (someone) back from some action, esp by force
to deprive (someone) of liberty, as by imprisonment
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 unrestrainable



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