Definition of RESTRAINT


Restraint is a noun that denotes the act, process, or state of holding back, controlling, or limiting oneself or others from engaging in certain actions, behaviors, or impulses. It involves exercising moderation, discipline, or self-control to prevent excess, impulsivity, or impropriety in thought, speech, or action.

Control or Limitation: As a noun, restraint signifies the practice of controlling or limiting one’s actions, impulses, or behaviors to maintain order, decorum, or propriety in social interactions or personal conduct. It involves refraining from excessive, inappropriate, or harmful behavior through conscious effort or self-regulation.

Moderation or Discipline: Restraint often involves exercising moderation, discipline, or temperance in one’s thoughts, emotions, or actions, avoiding extremes or excesses that may lead to negative consequences or adverse outcomes. It entails balancing desires, needs, or impulses with rational judgment and ethical considerations.

Self-Control or Self-Restraint: In personal development or ethical contexts, restraint refers to the ability to exercise self-control or self-restraint over one’s impulses, desires, or urges. It entails managing emotions, impulses, or reactions effectively, even in challenging or provocative situations, to uphold principles or values.

Physical or Behavioral Constraint: Restraint may also denote physical or behavioral mechanisms used to control or limit the movements or actions of individuals, particularly in contexts such as law enforcement, healthcare, or safety. Physical restraints, such as handcuffs or seat belts, prevent individuals from engaging in certain actions or behaviors.

Restraint as a Virtue: In moral or philosophical traditions, restraint is often regarded as a virtue associated with prudence, wisdom, or self-mastery. It reflects the ability to resist temptations, impulses, or pressures that may lead to unethical, imprudent, or harmful actions, thereby promoting personal integrity and ethical behavior.

Restraint encompasses the act, process, or state of holding back, controlling, or limiting oneself or others from engaging in certain actions, behaviors, or impulses. Whether involving moderation, discipline, self-control, or physical constraint, restraint plays a crucial role in promoting order, decorum, and ethical conduct in personal, social, and institutional contexts.

Examples of RESTRAINT in a sentence

  • She showed remarkable restraint in not responding to the provocation.
  • The police used restraint in handling the unruly crowd.
  • It took all his restraint not to eat the tempting dessert.
  • The treaty was signed with the hope of promoting peace and restraint between the two nations.
  • The doctor advised him to exercise restraint in his diet to improve his health.
  • The teacher praised the students for their restraint during the test.
  • The government imposed restraint measures to control inflation.
  • He acted with restraint rather than reacting impulsively.


The term restraint embarks on a linguistic journey, tracing its origins through centuries of social, moral, and legal development. Rooted in Middle English and Old French influences, it has evolved into a multifaceted term that signifies the act of holding back, controlling, or limiting oneself or others.

  • Old French Roots: The word restraint originated from the Old French noun “restreinte,” which meant “a holding back” or “a restriction.” This noun was derived from the verb “restreindre,” meaning “to restrain” or “to confine.”
  • Middle English Evolution: In Middle English, the term restraint retained its fundamental meanings of confinement or limitation. It denoted the act of exercising control or moderation over one’s actions, desires, or impulses, as well as the imposition of limits or restrictions by external authorities or circumstances.
  • Moral and Ethical Connotations: Restraint carries moral and ethical connotations related to self-discipline, temperance, and prudence. It implies a conscious effort to curb excesses, avoid harm, or adhere to principles of morality and decency.
  • Legal and Social Norms: In legal and social contexts, restraint refers to rules, regulations, or measures that limit or regulate behavior, often for the purpose of maintaining order, ensuring safety, or upholding societal values. This can include laws governing speech, conduct, or trade, as well as institutional practices aimed at preventing harm or abuse.
  • Psychological Dimensions: Restraint also has psychological dimensions, encompassing the ability to manage emotions, impulses, or urges in a manner that promotes well-being, resilience, and interpersonal harmony. It involves exercising self-control, managing conflicts, and navigating social relationships with empathy and consideration for others.

Restraint stands as a term that reflects humanity’s ongoing quest for balance, order, and harmony in individual and collective life. From its Old French and Middle English roots to its modern-day applications in ethics, law, and psychology, the word embodies the complex interplay between personal agency, social norms, and moral responsibility in shaping human behavior and society.


  • Control
  • Moderation
  • Self-discipline
  • Constraint
  • Abstinence
  • Discretion
  • Temperance
  • Sobriety


  • Indulgence
  • Unrestraint
  • Impulsiveness
  • Excess
  • Immoderation
  • Abandon
  • Uninhibitedness
  • Permissiveness


  • Holding back
  • Self-control
  • Prudence
  • Restraint techniques
  • Discipline
  • Self-restraint
  • Inhibition
  • Tactfulness

🌐 🇬🇧 RESTRAINT in other languages

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