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confine - definition and synonyms

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verb [transitive]     confine pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleconfining
past tenseconfined
past participleconfined
  1. 1
    [always passive] if something is confined to one area or group of people, it happens only in that area or affects only that group of people
    be confined to someone/something:

    Before 1914 divorce was largely confined to the upper classes.

    1. a.
      formal to keep an activity within particular limits
      confine something to something:

      I shall attempt to confine the discussion to broad principles.

  2. 2
    [usually passive] to force someone to stay in a place and prevent them from leaving
    confine someone to something:

    Many prisoners are confined to their cells for long periods of time.

    1. a.
      to make someone stay in a place because they are too ill, weak, or disabled to leave
      confine someone to something:

      Ill health kept him confined to his room.

  3. 3
    to prevent something dangerous from spreading
    confine something to something:

    They managed to confine the fire to the engine room.

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