late 14c., "distress, oppression," from Old French constreinte "binding, constraint, compulsion" (Modern French contrainte), fem. noun from constreint, past participle of constreindre, from Vulgar Latin *constrinctus, from Latin constrictus (see constrain). Meaning "coercion, compulsion" is from 1530s.
programming, mathematics A Booleanrelation, often an equality or ineqality relation, between the values of one or more mathematical variables (often two). E.g. x>3 is a constraint on x. constraint satisfaction attempts to assign values to variables so that all constraints are true. Usenet newsgroup: news:comp.constraints. FAQ (http://cs.unh.edu/ccc/archive/). (2002-06-08)