9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ree-streyn] /riˈstreɪn/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to strain again.
Origin of re-strain
1870-75; re- + strain1
Can be confused
re-strain, restrain.


[ri-streyn] /rɪˈstreɪn/
verb (used with object)
to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress:
to restrain one's temper.
to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of:
to restrain trade with Cuba.
1350-1400; Middle English restreynen < Middle French restreindre < Latin restringere to bind back, bind fast, equivalent to re- re- + stringere to draw together; see strain1
Related forms
restrainable, adjective
restrainability, noun
restrainingly, adverb
overrestrain, verb (used with object)
prerestrain, verb (used with object)
unrestrainable, adjective
Can be confused
refrain, restrain.
re-strain, restrain.
1. bridle, suppress, constrain. See check1 . 2. restrict, circumscribe, confine, hinder, hamper.
1. unbridle. 2. free, liberate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for restrain
  • Name me a pastor who would advocate for population control and restrain of human activity.
  • So either add some substance to your comments or restrain yourself.
  • It wants the government to restrain speculative inflows by imposing far higher initial margin requirements on currency futures.
  • The sheet is believed to restrain the glacial ice that covers the continent.
  • His goal is to restrain the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Yet it is fair for government to restrain malefactors.
  • It is almost impossible to restrain her and get her to relax until she gets her way.
  • The only option that he has is to either restrain his remarks or face an attorney.
  • It's a novel idea-that the way to restrain spending is to increase taxes whenever spending rises.
  • They conform because they are made to conform by someone who can restrain them.
British Dictionary definitions for restrain


verb (transitive)
to hold (someone) back from some action, esp by force
to deprive (someone) of liberty, as by imprisonment
to limit or restrict
Derived Forms
restrainable, adjective
Word Origin
C14 restreyne, from Old French restreindre, from Latin rēstringere to draw back tightly, from re- + stringere to draw, bind; see strain1
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 restrain

mid-14c., from stem of Old French restreindre "press, push together; curb, bridle; bandage" (12c.), from Latin restringere "draw back tightly, confine, check" (see restriction). Related: Restrained; restraining.

That which we restrain we keep within limits; that which we restrict we keep within certain definite limits; that which we repress we try to put out of existence. [Century Dictionary, 1902]



"strain again," 1874, from re- + strain (v.). Related: Re-strained; re-straining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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