Restraint is the act of holding something back. For example, if you exercise restraint over your emotions, you won't burst out into tears in public.

As you may have guessed from its similar spelling, the word restraint comes from the verb restrain, which in turn comes from the Latin word restringere, meaning "draw back tightly, confine, check." When talking about an object, a restraint is a device used to maintain control of something. For example, if your leg is operated on, the doctors will use a restraint to hold it still.

Definitions of restraint
  1. noun
    the act of controlling by restraining someone or something
    “the unlawful restraint of trade”
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    collar, leash
    a figurative restraint
    a depressing restraint
    bridle, check, curb
    the act of restraining power or action or limiting excess
    immobilisation, immobilization, immobilizing
    the act of limiting movement or making incapable of movement
    the act of restraining a person's liberty by confining them
    the act of containing; keeping something from spreading
    curtailment, suppression
    the act of withholding or withdrawing some book or writing from publication or circulation
    restraint of trade
    any act that tends to prevent free competition in business
    confinement, restriction
    the act of keeping something within specified bounds (by force if necessary)
    imprisonment, internment
    the act of confining someone in a prison (or as if in a prison)
    house arrest
    confinement to your own home
    ring containment
    a strategy of defense in cases of bioterrorism; vaccination only of people exposed and others who are in contact with them
    restriction imposed by the government on documents or weapons that are available only to certain authorized people
    specification, stipulation
    a restriction that is insisted upon as a condition for an agreement
    the act of circumscribing
    the act of constraining; the threat or use of force to control the thoughts or behavior of others
    commitment, committal, consignment
    the official act of consigning a person to confinement (as in a prison or mental hospital)
    type of:
    the activity of managing or exerting control over something
  2. noun
    the state of being physically constrained
    “dogs should be kept under restraint
    synonyms: constraint
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    something that restricts freedom as a cage restricts movement
    iron cage
    a cage from which there is no escape
    type of:
    the state of being confined
  3. noun
    discipline in personal and social activities
    “he was a model of polite restraint
    synonyms: control
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    the quality of lacking restraint
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    self-restraint, temperateness
    exhibiting restraint imposed on the self
    moderation, temperance
    the trait of avoiding excesses
    the quality of being inhibited
    voluntary control over urinary and fecal discharge
    stiff upper lip
    self-restraint in the expression of emotion (especially fear or grief)
    dryness, sobriety
    moderation in or abstinence from alcohol or other drugs
    moderation in eating and drinking
    taboo, tabu
    an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion
    type of:
    the trait of being well behaved
  4. noun
    a rule or condition that limits freedom
    “legal restraints
    restraints imposed on imports”
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    something that restrains a flood or outpouring
    type of:
    limitation, restriction, stricture
    a principle that limits the extent of something
  5. noun
    a device that hinders something's motion
    “the car did not have proper restraints fitted”
    synonyms: constraint
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    air bag
    a safety restraint in an automobile; the bag inflates on collision and prevents the driver or passenger from being thrown forward
    airbrake, dive brake
    a small parachute or articulated flap to reduce the speed of an aircraft
    arrester, arrester hook
    a restraint that slows airplanes as they land on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier
    a restraint put around something to hold it together
    a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle
    anything that slows or hinders a process
    brake pad
    one of the pads that apply friction to both sides of the brake disk
    brake shoe, shoe, skid
    a restraint provided when the brake linings are moved hydraulically against the brake drum to retard the wheel's rotation
    catch, stop
    a restraint that checks the motion of something
    anything that acts as a restraint
    fastener, fastening, fixing, holdfast
    restraint that attaches to something or holds something in place
    gag, muzzle
    restraint put into a person's mouth to prevent speaking or shouting
    lead, leash, tether
    restraint consisting of a rope (or light chain) used to restrain an animal
    ignition lock, lock
    a restraint incorporated into the ignition switch to prevent the use of a vehicle by persons who do not have the key
    a leather or wire restraint that fits over an animal's snout (especially a dog's nose and jaws) and prevents it from eating or biting
    life belt, safety belt, safety harness
    belt attaching you to some object as a restraint in order to prevent you from getting hurt
    drogue, sea anchor
    restraint consisting of a canvas covered frame that floats behind a vessel; prevents drifting or maintains the heading into a wind
    bond, hamper, shackle, trammel
    a restraint that confines or restricts freedom (especially something used to tie down or restrain a prisoner)
    a restraint that is used to teach a horse to amble
    ball and chain
    heavy iron ball attached to a prisoner by a chain
    a strap around the belly of a draft animal holding the shafts of a wagon
    bench hook
    any of various stops on a workbench against which work can be pushed (as while chiseling or planing)
    brake band
    a band that can be tightened around a shaft to stop its rotation
    brake system, brakes
    a braking device consisting of a combination of interacting parts that work to slow a motor vehicle
    fastener that fastens together two ends of a belt or strap; often has loose prong
    a round fastener sewn to shirts and coats etc to fit through buttonholes
    carabiner, karabiner, snap ring
    an oblong metal ring with a spring clip; used in mountaineering to attach a rope to a piton or to connect two ropes
    a fastener that fastens or locks a door or window
    a fastener (as a buckle or hook) that is used to hold two things together
    a fastener (usually with two projecting horns) around which a rope can be secured
    the flattened part of a nail or bolt or rivet
    any of various small fasteners used to hold loose articles together
    clothes peg, clothes pin, clothespin
    wood or plastic fastener; for holding clothes on a clothesline
    coaster brake
    a brake on a bicycle that engages with reverse pressure on the pedals
    a band or collar that holds an individual stone in a jewelry setting
    corrugated fastener, wiggle nail
    a small strip of corrugated steel with sharp points on one side; hammered across wood joints in rough carpentry
    cottar, cotter
    fastener consisting of a wedge or pin inserted through a slot to hold two other pieces together
    cringle, eyelet, grommet, grummet, loop
    fastener consisting of a metal ring for lining a small hole to permit the attachment of cords or lines
    doorstop, doorstopper
    a stop that keeps open doors from moving
    dowel, dowel pin, joggle
    a fastener that is inserted into holes in two adjacent pieces and holds them together
    fetter, hobble
    a shackle for the ankles or feet
    fillet, stopping
    fastener consisting of a narrow strip of welded metal used to join steel members
    emergency, emergency brake, hand brake, parking brake
    a brake operated by hand; usually operates by mechanical linkage
    cuff, handcuff, handlock, manacle
    shackle that consists of a metal loop that can be locked around the wrist; usually used in pairs
    hook and eye
    a kind of fastener used on clothing
    chains, irons
    metal shackles; for hands or legs
    any of various fastenings formed by looping and tying a rope (or cord) upon itself or to another rope or to another object
    rope that is used for fastening something to something else
    a metal band used to attach a reed to the mouthpiece of a clarinet or saxophone
    link, linkup, tie, tie-in
    a fastener that serves to join or connect
    a fastener fitted to a door or drawer to keep it firmly closed
    a fastener that locks or closes
    a thin pointed piece of metal that is hammered into materials as a fastener
    nut and bolt
    a fastener made by screwing a nut onto a threaded bolt
    paper fastener
    a fastener for holding a sheet of paper in place
    click, detent, dog, pawl
    a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward
    a small slender (often pointed) piece of wood or metal used to support or fasten or attach things
    power brake
    a brake on an automobile that magnifies a small force applied to the brake pedal into a proportionately larger force applied to slow or stop the vehicle
    a fastener with a tapered threaded shank and a slotted head
    fastener that provides a tight and perfect closure
    seal, sealing wax
    fastener consisting of a resinous composition that is plastic when warm; used for sealing documents and parcels and letters
    seat belt, seatbelt
    a safety belt used in a car or plane to hold you in your seat in case of an accident
    slide fastener, zip, zip fastener, zipper
    a fastener for locking together two toothed edges by means of a sliding tab
    press stud, snap, snap fastener
    a fastener used on clothing; fastens with a snapping sound
    a fastener consisting of a peg or pin or crosspiece that is inserted into an eye at the end of a rope or a chain or a cable in order to fasten it to something (as another rope or chain or cable)
    toggle bolt
    a fastener consisting of a threaded bolt and a hinged spring-loaded toggle; used to fasten objects to hollow walls
    trip, tripper
    a catch mechanism that acts as a switch
    band or rope made of twisted twigs or stems
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  6. noun
    lack of ornamentation
    “the room was simply decorated with great restraint
    synonyms: chasteness, simpleness, simplicity
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    type of:
    the appearance of being plain and unpretentious
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