Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

constrain

 - definition
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb [transitive] formal British English pronunciation: constrain /kənˈstreɪn/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyconstrain
he/she/itconstrains
present participleconstraining
past tenseconstrained
past participleconstrained
  1. 1
    to limit someone's freedom to do what they want

    We are always constrained by our budget.

    planning regulations that constrain development

  2. 2
    [usually passive] to force someone to do something that they do not want to do
    feel constrained to do something:

    She should have kept quiet, but felt constrained to answer.

Word of the Day

carob

a sweet brown powder that tastes like chocolate and is made from the seeds of a Mediterranean tree

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog