tr.v. re·strained, re·strain·ing, re·strains
a. To hold back or keep in check; control: was able restrain his emotions.
b. To prevent (a person or group) from doing something or acting in a certain way: She was restrained from selling the house by her fond memories.
2. To hold, fasten, or secure so as to prevent or limit movement: hair restrained by a bandana; a child restrained by a seat belt.
[Middle English restreinen, from Old French restraindre, restreign-, from Latin restringere, to bind back; see RESTRICT.]
re·strained·ly (-strānĭd-lē) adv.
Synonyms: restrain, curb, check, bridle, inhibit
These verbs mean to hold back or keep under control. Restrain implies restriction or limitation, as on one's freedom of action: "a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another" (Thomas Jefferson).
To curb is to restrain as if with reins: "As a teacher he was rather dull. He curbed his own enthusiasms, finding that they distracted his attention" (E.M. Forster).
Check implies arresting or stopping, often suddenly: "Knowing that Lily disliked to be caressed, she had long ago learned to check her demonstrative impulses toward her friend" (Edith Wharton).
To bridle is often to hold in or govern one's emotions or passions: I tried hard to bridle my anger. Inhibit usually connotes a check on one's actions, thoughts, or emotions: A fear of strangers inhibited his ability to travel.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.