9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh n-fahyn for 1, 2, 5, 6; kon-fahyn for 3, 4] /kənˈfaɪn for 1, 2, 5, 6; ˈkɒn faɪn for 3, 4/
verb (used with object), confined, confining.
to enclose within bounds; limit or restrict:
She confined her remarks to errors in the report. Confine your efforts to finishing the book.
to shut or keep in; prevent from leaving a place because of imprisonment, illness, discipline, etc.:
For that offense he was confined to quarters for 30 days.
Usually, confines. a boundary or bound; limit; border; frontier.
Often, confines. region; territory.
Archaic. confinement.
Obsolete. a place of confinement; prison.
Origin of confine
1350-1400 for noun; 1515-25 for v.; (noun) Middle English < Middle French confins, confines < Medieval Latin confinia, plural of Latin confinis boundary, border (see con-, fine2); (v.) < Middle French confiner, verbal derivative of confins < Latin, as above
Related forms
confinable, confineable, adjective
confineless, adjective
confiner, noun
nonconfining, adjective
preconfine, verb (used with object), preconfined, preconfining.
quasi-confining, adjective
reconfine, verb (used with object), reconfined, reconfining.
self-confining, adjective
unconfinable, adjective
unconfining, adjective
1. circumscribe.
1, 2. free. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for confine
  • She will not even confine it to the housetop, but will bear it in procession along the thoroughfare.
  • Students are limiting their opportunities if they confine themselves to their specific degrees.
  • The researchers did not confine themselves to poking fun at lexicographers, though.
  • Please confine yourself to discussions of the topic at hand.
  • Most museum goers confine themselves to murmurs of appreciation or the occasional reverent flip of a program page.
  • confine your statement about the impacts of your research to things that every scholar would do normally.
  • The trouble is that only a few of the works in the show confine themselves to probing this inconsistency.
  • The best part about these services is that they don't confine you to one genre.
  • Gangs that used to confine themselves to the drugs trade are branching out into robbery, extortion, and kidnapping.
  • Don't confine your final output to any one medium type.
British Dictionary definitions for confine


verb (transitive) (kənˈfaɪn)
to keep or close within bounds; limit; restrict
to keep shut in; restrict the free movement of: arthritis confined him to bed
noun (ˈkɒnfaɪn)
(often pl) a limit; boundary
Derived Forms
confinable, confineable, adjective
confineless, adjective
confiner, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin confīnāre from Latin confīnis adjacent, from fīnis end, boundary
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
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Word Origin and History for confine

c.1400, "boundary, limit" (usually as confines), from Old French confins "boundaries," from Medieval Latin confines, from Latin confinium (plural confinia) "boundary, limit," from confine, neuter of confinis "bordering on, having the same boundaries," from com- "with" (see com-) + finis "an end" (see finish (n.)).


1520s, "to border on," from Middle French confiner, from confins (n.); see confine (n.). Sense of "keeping within limits" is from 1590s. Related: Confined; confining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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