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[ree-streyn] /riˈstreɪn/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to strain again.
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. 2014.
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Examples for restraining
  • After firing an employee because of lies, they slapped a restraining order on her and then had her arrested because she called in.
  • We turned the letters over to the administration, and he was expelled and given a campus-wide restraining order.
  • It sounds to me that he is interested in you, but he is restraining himself because you are a student.
  • restraining our displays of anger, affection, sorrow.
  • Something seems to be restraining the natural tendency of filoviruses toward genetic divergence.
  • Some resorts require the use of restraining bars whenever riding in a lift, while others leave their use to individual preference.
  • Bullock seeks restraining order against obsessed fan.
  • The details of the restraining order were not immediately known.
  • Guide wheels that ran along restraining timbers within the tower kept the cradle from swinging back and forth.
  • The importing firm at once secured an injunction restraining the seizure.
British Dictionary definitions for restraining


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 restraining
mid-14c., from stem of O.Fr. restraindre, from L. restringere "draw back tightly, confine, check" (see restriction).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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