Definition of constraint in English:


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  • 1A limitation or restriction.

    ‘time constraints make it impossible to do everything’
    • ‘the availability of water is the main constraint on food production’
    • ‘Such constraints restrict the effectiveness of all humanitarian interventions.’
    • ‘Some of the externally imposed limitations and constraints on our actions are evident to us.’
    • ‘Foundation trusts will be subject to fewer checks and constraints over their actions.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it will be all but impossible to shed some of the space constraints.’
    • ‘However, opposition MPs said it could no longer hide behind operational constraints.’
    • ‘That's occurring at a time when these capacity constraints are biting in some areas.’
    • ‘He cultivates a sense of social responsibility in a marvellous vacuum of normal social constraints.’
    • ‘The bandwidth constraints of the internet force us to find more concise ways to represent information.’
    • ‘The report examines in some detail the impacts, opportunities and constraints of each option.’
    • ‘He said residents might be issued with information leaflets so they were aware of the constraints on Ryan.’
    • ‘They resent any constraint as an insult to their will to dominate and exercise power.’
    • ‘They find a bleak life of constraint and alienation - not an heroic American salvation tale but a cold comfort saga.’
    • ‘In the run-up to devolution it was widely expected that one of the main challenges would be fiscal constraint.’
    • ‘Resistance from the medical community has been one important constraint.’
    • ‘The main regulatory constraint in the post war period was the ceiling on interest rates.’
    • ‘For the past two months, US officials have been seeking to wriggle free from this constraint.’
    • ‘The solution lies with Labour councillors, who must reverse this effective parking constraint and allow more parking space.’
    • ‘‘We applied a much higher level of constraint than was used in the past,’ he says.’
    • ‘But, subject to that constraint, funders should reveal as much as possible as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Well I know that it's not my best work, and some of it is years old, used again partly because of financial constraint.’
    restriction, limitation, curb, check, restraint, control, curtailment, damper, rein
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    1. 1.1Stiffness of manner and inhibition in relations between people.
      ‘they would be able to talk without constraint’
      • ‘Then you help the person develop strategies to overcome that social constraint.’
      • ‘How good it would feel to be without constraint to spread the good news of the gospel to those who never saw the need for it.’
      • ‘If a king is seeking freedom from constraint through disguise, the greatest freedom is to be had through disguising himself as a beggar.’
      • ‘It includes the freedom to talk without constraint, to discuss, to debate, to inquire, to lobby, to petition, to assemble without fear, to protest.’
      • ‘Participants were allowed to talk without constraint for as long as they chose about what they considered quality reference service.’
      • ‘Only once have I heard him laugh without constraint.’
      inhibition, uneasiness, embarrassment
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/kənˈstrānt/ /kənˈstreɪnt/


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘coercion’): from Old French constreinte, feminine past participle of constraindre (see constrain).