A constriction is a tight squeeze. If you have asthma, you know that the constriction of the airways makes it hard to breathe. If you’re a snake, you know that the constriction of a mouse makes a good dinner.

The word constriction comes from the Latin constringere for "compress," which is what constrictions do. If a hose is running and you squeeze it in the middle, that constriction cuts off the flow. A highway that goes from four lanes to one causes a constriction, or bottleneck. A constriction can also be a tight feeling in your body. If you’re afraid there’s a boa constrictor under your bed, you might feel a constriction in your chest.

Definitions of constriction

n a narrowing that reduces the flow through a channel

bottleneck, chokepoint
Type of:
an instance of becoming narrow

n the action or process of compressing

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(pathology) sudden constriction of a hollow organ (as a blood vessel)
the act of forcing yourself (or being forced) into or through a restricted space
(pathology) constriction of a body part so as to cut off the flow of blood or other fluid
decrease in the diameter of blood vessels
a spasm of the bronchi that makes exhalation difficult and noisy; associated with asthma and bronchitis
a spasm of the cardiac sphincter (between the esophagus and the stomach); if the cardiac sphincter does not relax during swallowing the passage of food into the stomach is obstructed
heave, retch
an involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting
laryngeal spasm caused by the sudden contraction of laryngeal muscles
Type of:
compressing, compression
applying pressure

n tight or narrow compression

Type of:
compression, condensation, contraction
the process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together

n a tight feeling in some part of the body

“he felt a constriction in her chest”
“emotion caused a constriction of his throat”
Type of:
a physical sensation that you experience

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