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.

Primary Meanings of restraint

the act of controlling by restraining someone or something
lack of ornamentation
Full Definitions of restraint

n 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 of 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

n the state of being physically constrained

“dogs should be kept under restraint
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

n discipline in personal and social activities

“he was a model of polite restraint
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

n a rule or condition that limits freedom

“legal restraints
restraints imposed on imports”
something that restrains a flood or outpouring
Type of:
limitation, restriction
a principle that limits the extent of something

n a device that hinders something's motion

“the car did not have proper restraints fitted”
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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

n lack of ornamentation

“the room was simply decorated with great restraint
chasteness, simpleness, simplicity
Type of:
the appearance of being plain and unpretentious

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