Something that's constrained is forced, unnatural and not very spontaneous — kind of like a linebacker trying to perform the ballet Swan Lake.

Constrained contains the word strained for a reason. Mostly because anyone that's constrained is feeling a fair amount of strain because of it. In addition to referring to unnatural or uncharacteristic behavior, being constrained can also mean being held back or forced to do something you don't want to do. If your budget has taken a hit, for example, you may feel constrained financially. If you are on a diet, you may feel constrained by the Weight Watchers point system.

Definitions of constrained
  1. adjective
    lacking spontaneity; not natural
    “a constrained smile”
    synonyms: forced, strained
    affected, unnatural
    speaking or behaving in an artificial way to make an impression
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week