Why was clemency trending last week?


[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 confines
  • The green confines have seen many demonstrations, both for and against war.
  • Surfing broke out from the confines of a small eccentric subculture and grew into a pulsing fad.
  • Think of it as hunting-whenever you leave the confines of your camp, you should be ready and able to capture whatever pops up.
  • Within the confines of the course management system, yes my sites are accessible.
  • Determine problem solving activities within the confines of agency protocols.
  • Each of us remained rational-offering strong evidence for our positions and staying within the confines of logic.
  • Such events should take place within the confines of university seminar rooms or teleconferencing sites.
  • One, there is only so much you can do within the confines of a semester to engender these relationships.
  • Office hours, as a concept, need not remain within the confines of the traditional office.
  • We certainly need teachers who are both highly skilled and who can think rigorously beyond the confines of their own discipline.
British Dictionary definitions for confines


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 confines



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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