Definition of restraint noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈstreɪnt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈstreɪnt//
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  1. 1[countable, usually plural] restraint (on somebody/something) a rule, a fact, an idea, etc. that limits or controls what people can do The government has imposed export restraints on some products. social restraints on drinking alcohol Synonymslimitrestriction control constraint restraint limitationThese are all words for something that limits what you can do or what can happen.limit the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed:The EU has set strict limits on pollution levels. the speed limitrestriction (rather formal) a rule or law that limits what you can do:There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can withdraw.control (often in compounds) the act of limiting or managing something; a method of doing this:arms controlconstraint (rather formal) a fact or decision that limits what you can do:We have to work within severe constraints of time and money.restraint (rather formal) a decision, a rule, an idea, etc. that limits what you can do; the act of limiting something because it is necessary or sensible to do so:The government has imposed export restraints on some products. The unions are unlikely to accept any sort of wage restraint.limitation the act or process of limiting something; a rule, fact or condition that limits something:They would resist any limitation of their powers.restriction, constraint, restraint or limitation? These are all things that limit what you can do. A restriction is rule or law that is made by somebody in authority. A constraint is something that exists rather than something that is made, although it may exist as a result of somebody’s decision. A restraint is also something that exists: it can exist outside yourself, as the result of somebody else’s decision; but it can also exist inside you, as a fear of what other people may think or as your own feeling about what is acceptable:moral/​social/​cultural restraints. A limitation is more general and can be a rule that somebody makes or a fact or condition that exists.Patterns limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations on something limits/​limitations to something severe limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations tight limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints to impose/​remove limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations to lift restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints
  2. 2[uncountable] the act of controlling or limiting something because it is necessary or sensible to do so wage restraint They said that they would fight without restraint(= completely freely) for what they wanted.
  3. 3[uncountable] the quality of behaving calmly and with control synonym self-control The police appealed to the crowd for restraint. He exercised considerable restraint in ignoring the insults.
  4. 4[uncountable] (formal) the use of physical force to control somebody who is behaving in a violent way the physical restraint of prisoners
  5. 5[countable] (formal) a type of seat belt or safety device Children must use an approved child restraint or adult seat belt.
  6. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French restreinte, feminine past participle of restreindre ‘hold back’, from Latin restringere, from re- ‘back’ + stringere ‘to tie, pull tight’.Extra examples Finally he was able to cry properly, without restraint. He abandoned all restraint and yelled at the top of his lungs. Journalists have exercised remarkable restraint in not reporting all the sordid details of the case. Prices continued to rise without restraint. Somehow I had the restraint not to tell Peter that. Sometimes the care workers need to use physical restraint on the hospital patients. The government called for restraint by both sides. The government imposed restraints on spending. The media should have used more restraint in disclosing his private life. The role requires a certain restraint. They balked at the notion of prior restraints on research. They reacted with restraint. We did the best we could within the limited time restraints. What happens when the conventional restraints on human cruelty are removed? agreements on voluntary export restraints guilty of the charge of unlawful restraint talks on voluntary wage restraint the government’s need to exercise fiscal restraint the mutual restraint shown by police and protesters. The unions are unlikely to accept any sort of wage restraint. There are certain social restraints on drinking alcohol. They said that they would fight without restraint for what they wanted.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: restraint