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Definition restricted; or lacking spontaneity

Much more rarely (and archaically), constrain can mean to force someone to do something.
  • The standard of living is ultimately constrained by worker productivity.
constrained = restricted
  • Congressional power is constrained by the court.
  • constrained = restricted
  • Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air.
    Charles Dickens  --  A Christmas Carol
  • unconstrained = spontaneous
    (Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unconstrained means not and reverses the meaning of constrained. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
  • is very grievous to be constrained to keep our hands off such a dainty dish as Narnia.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Horse and His Boy
  • constrained = restricted in action
  • She will not be loved for it, but she will not be constrained either.
    Madeline Miller  --  Circe
  • constrained = limited in actions
  • You shall say that I, did it without your knowledge and against your will, and without your blessing, being constrained by the violence of my love and the impetuosity of youth.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Horse and His Boy
  • constrained = restricted; or lacking spontaneity
  • a constrained smile
  • They seemed awkward and constrained in her presence, and she caught first one and then the other looking at her with secret curiosity.
    London, Jack  --  Adventure
  • The photographer came out and gave a constrained, apologetic laugh.
    Cather, Willa  --  My Antonia
  • He took her hand, and looked at her half-sadly, half with a constrained smile.
    Eliot, George  --  Adam Bede
  • But the elastic heart of youth cannot be compressed into one constrained shape long at a time.
    Twain, Mark  --  Tom Sawyer
  • She still looked agitated, and during the meal there was a somewhat constrained silence.
    Christie, Agatha  --  The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • After five minutes of irksome, constrained conversation, they heard the sound of slippered feet rapidly approaching.
    Tolstoy, Leo  --  War and Peace
  • Mordaunt hesitated; but it seemed as though he was constrained to tell the truth.
    Dumas, Alexandre  --  Twenty Years After
  • Everyone ought to worship God according to his own inclinations, and not to be constrained by force.
    Flavius Josephus
  • She met his eyes for an instant, but was immediately constrained to give all her attention to the scene now going forward.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel  --  The Scarlet Letter
  • She ate her food in the deliberate, constrained way, almost as if she recoiled a little from doing anything so publicly, that he knew so well.
    D.H. Lawrence  --  Sons and Lovers
  • 'T is one that he is called upon, nay, constrained by all the obligations that form the bands of society, to discharge sincerely and honestly.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • I remember that Lowell had a long knitted purse, constrained by two rings; and that a sixpence always slipped out of the slit.
    Virginia Woolf  --  A Sketch of the Past
  • Oh, Rita hasn't written anything at all since the third task," said Hermione in an oddly constrained voice.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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