1. characterized by restraint: The actor gave a restrained performance.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to strain again.

verb (used with object)

  1. to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress: to restrain one’s temper.
  2. to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
  3. to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of: to restrain trade with Cuba.


  1. (of a person or person’s manner) calm and unemotional
  2. (of clothes, décor, etc) subtle and tasteful

verb (tr)

  1. to hold (someone) back from some action, esp by force
  2. to deprive (someone) of liberty, as by imprisonment
  3. to limit or restrict

“repressed, kept under control,” 1570s, past participle adjective from restrain.


mid-14c., from stem of Old French restreindre “press, push together; curb, bridle; bandage” (12c.), from Latin restringere “draw back tightly, confine, check” (see restriction). Related: Restrained; restraining.

That which we restrain we keep within limits; that which we restrict we keep within certain definite limits; that which we repress we try to put out of existence. [Century Dictionary, 1902]


“strain again,” 1874, from re- + strain (v.). Related: Re-strained; re-straining.

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