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[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.
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 confining
  • Three is something they call confining-anticipating and recognizing disruptive environmental change to quickly manage it.
  • He didn't generally let his posts get personal, confining his critiques to people's ideas.
  • Encourage our scholars to play a more active role beyond the ivy walls confining their narrow disciplines.
  • confining the initial stimulus to government investment would not have worked because it would have been too slow.
  • Some of the seating areas are cramped and confining.
  • Side bolsters do their job without being overly confining.
  • confining units consist mainly of layers with low permeability.
  • But the truth is, this job is a little confining, and that is frustrating.
British Dictionary definitions for confining


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 confining



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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