Meaning of RESTRAIN in English

rə̇ˈstrān, rēˈs- verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English restreynen, restraynen, from Middle French restreindre, restraindre, from Latin restringere to draw back tight, restrain, restrict, from re- + stringere to draw tight — more at strain

transitive verb


a. : to hold (as a person) back from some action, procedure, or course : prevent from doing something (as by physical or moral force or social pressure)

restraining her charges … from overt acts of violence — C.H.Grandgent

b. : to limit or restrict to or in respect to a particular action or course : keep within bounds or under control

restraining state banks which were inclined to do unsound business — Dict. of American Biography


a. : to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of : prevent or rule out excesses or extremes of

restraining lax management

b. : to keep from being manifested or performed : repress

could hardly restrain her astonishment from being visible — Jane Austen

3. obsolete : to draw back (as a rein) tightly


a. : to deprive of liberty : place under arrest or restraint

b. : to deprive (as of liberty) by restraint : abridge the freedom of — used with of

5. obsolete : forbear , forbid

intransitive verb

1. archaic : refrain

2. : to restrain a person or thing


check , curb , bridle , snaffle , inhibit : restrain is a general term suggesting use of force, pressure, or strenuous persuasion to hold back a person or thing from a course or action or to prevent the action itself

Delaware, in commissioning its delegates, restrained them from assenting to any change in the “rule of suffrage” — E.K.Alden

one wants to produce in the child the same respect for the garden that restrains the grown-ups from picking wantonly — Bertrand Russell

restrain may also be used with any moderating action, any action that prevents extremes

a law of 17 B.C. gave a legal position to slaves informally manumitted … but drastically restrained their power to acquire and bequeath property — John Buchan

check indicates a restraining of a course, activity, impetus, or effect; its suggestions may rest on uses of the word in horsemanship, chess, or military affairs

if you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits … she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment — Jane Austen

the ambition of churchmen to shine in worldly contests is disciplined and checked by the broader interests of the church — Henry Adams

curb , bridle , and snaffle likewise carry suggestions from horsemanship, curb indicating drastic and quick checking, bridle indicating a steady, continued guiding, controlling, holding from excess, and snaffle indicating a light curbing

control of money, bills, and the right of electing the councillors curbed somewhat the Governor's immense power — American Guide Series: Massachusetts

endowed … with zest, with abundance, with romping blood. She had never been bridled in mind or body — Francis Hackett

whose potential violence of feeling is bridled by good form — New York Herald Tribune Book Review

inhibit , largely psychological or scientific in its suggestions, is likely to bring into consideration repressive or curbing effects of custom, morality, precept, or conscience

the inherent immorality of the acts has become as strong an inhibiting factor as the fear of punishment — T.L.Karsten & J.H.Mathias

a more and more courageous, a less and less inhibited medium of expression — F.B.Millett

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.