a. The act of restraining: police restraint of the suspect.
b. The condition of being restrained, especially the condition of losing one's freedom: a suspect held in restraint.
a. An influence that inhibits or restrains: "If the enemy could be defined as radically evil, then the restraints of morality did not apply" (James Carroll).
b. A device or other means of restraining movement: a child restraint in a car.
3. Control of the expression of one's feelings; constraint: cursed without restraint.
[Middle English restreinte, from Old French restrainte, from feminine past participle of restraindre, to restrain; see RESTRAIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.