Definition of restrain in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈstrān/


[with object]
1Prevent (someone or something) from doing something; keep under control or within limits: he had to be restrained from walking out of the meeting (as adjective restraining) Cara put a restraining hand on his arm
More example sentences
  • Younger children may strike their older siblings, while older siblings are restrained from hitting back.
  • They say the state banks were restrained from inflating to excess by the regular requirement that they pay their balances to the federal branch offices in hard money.
  • Headcount freezes mean they are restrained from filling existing vacancies or creating new ones.
prevent, stop, keep, hold back
1.1Prevent oneself from displaying or giving way to (a strong urge or emotion): Amos had to restrain his impatience
More example sentences
  • I said with a smile and suddenly I had the urge to bend down and kiss her but I restrained myself from acting my wish.
  • Stevie shut his eyes tight, restraining himself, trying to hold his anticipation in check.
  • Angelo is a very cold person with no feelings and has restrained himself tremendously throughout his life.
control, keep under control, check, hold/keep in check, curb, suppress, repress, contain, dampen, subdue, smother, choke back, stifle, bottle up, rein back/in
informal keep the lid on
1.2Deprive (someone) of freedom of movement or personal liberty: leg cuffs are used in the U.S. for restraining and transporting extremely violent and dangerous criminals
More example sentences
  • I looked up and saw the blonde boy from the checkout, restraining my attacker so tightly that the veins in his arms were popping out, his teeth were clenched and his green eyes were ablaze with fury.
  • After being restrained by two people, Esther calms down.
  • Finally, psychiatrists in Britain and India diverged on the issue of restraining violent patients.
tie up, bind, tether, chain (up), fetter, shackle, manacle, put in irons
informal hog-tie
1.3(Of a seat belt) hold (a person or part of their body) down and back while in a vehicle seat.
Example sentences
  • No, for he woke upside down, restrained by a seatbelt connected to a seat in a certain upturned Toyota Avensis.
  • Fortunately, we had both buckled up and our seat belts restrained us from flying through the windshield, which would have been an even worse thing that could happen.
  • Jon had stopped the car and I opened the door and tried to step out, only to be tightly restrained by the seatbelt.



Example sentences
  • He calls Twain an ‘untamable rogue, a barely restrainable id that Sam could let out of the bottle… but sometimes he came out when Sam least expected it.’
  • A public nuisance is a crime indictable at common law and restrainable by injunction at the suit of the Attorney-General.
  • At last the laughter of the sailors, no longer restrainable, revealed the situation to him.


Example sentences
  • It is time to identify the ineffective policies and real restrainers to the provision of affordable housing and stop the generalisation that the local landowner is always to blame.
  • Rats were restrained by putting them in cylindrical restrainers 5.5 cm in inner diameter and 20 cm in length, with small holes in the front end for ventilation.
  • In '99, players removed the speed restrainers from carts and tried to add a few thrills to their free time.


Middle English: from Old French restreign-, stem of restreindre, from Latin restringere, from re- 'back' + stringere 'to tie, pull tight'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·strain

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