# Constraint vs Restraint: Difference and Comparison

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When the word ‘restraint’ is used in a sentence, it implies limiting certain actions by exerting force to establish control over something or someone. On the other hand, ‘constraint’ implies a limitation imposed on an object or an individual.

This distinction of meaning becomes even more apparent when the two words are compared in mathematics and physics.

## Key Takeaways

1. Constraint and restraint refer to limitations or restrictions imposed on something or someone.
2. Constraint is a limitation or rule that restricts someone’s freedom or ability to act. In contrast, restraint refers to self-control or moderation in behaviour or actions.
3. Constraints can be external or internal, while restraint is an internal process of self-discipline or self-regulation.

## Constraint vs Restraint

Constraints can be physical or mathematical, and they may limit the movement, shape, or other properties of a system and can be either external or internal. Restraint is a mechanism used to limit or control movement in a system and is used to prevent undesired movement in a system.

‘Restraint’ is a word used to connote the prevention of an act by implementing certain control mechanisms. While ‘constraint’ refers to the limitations that deter an individual’s liberty to act freely.

## What is Constraint?

The word ‘constraint’ is used to connote the restrictions on an individual that operate to curtail his or her freedom. Constraints limit certain actions of individuals in problematic situations.

The word ‘constraint’ originated from the old French term ‘constraindre’, which refers to the endeavour of obstructing certain actions.

Constraints can arise from different factors. They arise from certain ingrained values and moral codes. The origin of constraints can vary- ranging from the financial, political, social, legal, or other domains of life.

‘Constraint’ can also be used to restrict one’s relations with another. Alternatively, the word in mathematics can denote absolute restrictions in an equation. Some instances of using the word ‘constraint’ in the English language are demonstrated below:

1. The family is living under severe financial constraints.
2. Her mother constrained her freedom.
3. It will be difficult to overcome all the current political constraints.

## What is Restraint?

The word ‘restraint’ is derived from the old French word ‘restraindre’ that literary translates to the ‘act of holding back’. The word connotes using controlling force to hold someone or something back.

Restraints imply certain commonly used measures to delimit the actions that an individual can perform.

Restraint may also signify the act of self-control. The term restraint is used as an appropriate term to describe a situation when people curb and regulate their behaviours. ‘Restraint’ can signify an energetic bias in the mathematical field.

Moreover, the term can also be used to connote certain safety tools like seat belts. In such contexts, ‘restraint’ cannot be replaced by ‘constraint’. Some instances of using the word ‘restraint’ in sentences are illustrated below:

1. It may be necessary to put the patient in restraints.
2. She abandoned all restraints to express her anger.
3. Kindly secure the seat restraints before we begin the journey.

## Main Differences Between Constraint and Restraint

1. The main difference between ‘constraint’ and ‘restraint’ can be identified regarding the meanings of the two terms when used in common conversational English. While the word ‘constraint’ connotes the enforcement of certain restrictions on someone or something, the word ‘restraint’ refers to using control to hold back someone or something.
2. The origins of the two words are also different. ‘Constraint’ is derived from the old French word ‘constraindre’, which implies limiting certain actions. ‘Restraint’ is derived from the old French ‘restraindre’, meaning the act of ‘holding back’.
3. The usage of each word is also different. The word ‘constraint’ is more frequently used to refer to restrictions in a particular situation or problematic circumstance. The word ‘restraint’ is used to refer to holding back a person or limiting a person from performing certain acts.
4. The word ‘constraint’ in scientific disciplines connotes an absolute restriction imposed on a given mathematical calculation. In contrast, ‘restraint’ refers to an energetic bias that forces the given equation towards a particular restriction.
5. The word ‘restraint’ can also connote certain safety devices and tools like seat belts. In such a context, the word constraint cannot be used as a substitution for restraint.
References
1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24434843
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#### By Emma Smith

Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.