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Definition something that limits something's motion or someone's actions; or the state of being so limited

In classic literature, constraint is often used where constrained would be used today to indicate an inhibited attitude (lack of spontaneity).
  • Both sides have demonstrated a lack of constraint in the discussions.
constraint = staying within limits (in this case restraining themselves from saying things that make it hard to work together)
  • I will devote my full energy to the project, without constraint.
  • We want constraints on her power to spend taxpayer funds.
  • constraints = limitations
  • Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.
    Alexander Hamilton  --  Federalist Papers
  • Why should we have a government? Because the passions of men won't conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • constraint = something that limits actions
  • She insisted on her unequivocal determination for them to remain together only so long as they were friends, without constraints or promises for the future, just like Sartre and Beauvoir.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • constraints = limitations
  • "I might add that she's one of my relatives for whom I have the highest regard."
    "Does that mean that you don't suspect her?"
    "I wouldn't say that. I want you to ponder the matter without any constraints, regardless of what I think or believe."
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • constraints = limitations
  • There's no physics to worry about, no constraints on acceleration, no air resistance.
    Neal Stephenson  --  Snow Crash
  • constraints = limitations
  • An indescribable constraint, weariness, and humiliation were perceptible beneath this hardihood.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • constraint = something that limits something's motion or someone's actions; or the state of being so limited
  • Politicians and kings suffer the agony of constraint.
    Mark Helprin  --  A Soldier of the Great War
  • constraint = limitations
  • The best academic summary is probably: R. I. M. Dunbar, "Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates," Journal of Human Evolution (1992), vol.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  The Tipping Point
  • We were looked after by the older brother, who must have been warned to restrain himself, for he never touched us. The younger one was under no such constraints.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • constraints = limitations (limiting his actions)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Shelby both felt annoyed and degraded by the familiar impudence of the trader, and yet both saw the absolute necessity of putting a constraint on their feelings.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Free from all social constraint, young people gave way openly to instinct, taking advantage of the darkness to flirt in our midst, without caring about anyone else, as though they were alone in the world.
    Elie Wiesel  --  Night
  • constraint = limiting someone's actions
  • Bedeviled as they may have been at times by the dilemma of surplus population, the traditional slaveholders of the Western world were under Christian constraint to avoid anything resembling a "final solution" to solve the problem of excess labor; one could not shoot an expensively unproductive slave;
    William Styron  --  Sophie's Choice
  • constraint = limited
  • There had always existed, as the reader knows, a lofty wall, a coldness and a constraint between them; ice which must be broken or melted.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Their only constraint will be the obligations of good faith.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • Owing to legal constraints and the need for an official-sounding name, he called it the Institute for Union with Nothingness, or the I.U.N.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • But I want us to be in agreement about the constraints of the job.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • They understood, with an admirable delicacy of instinct, that certain cares may be put under constraint.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables

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