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English definition of “constraint”

constraint

noun uk   /kənˈstreɪnt/ us  
C2 [C] something that controls what you do by keeping you within particular limits: The constraints of politeness wouldn't allow her to say what she really thought about his cooking. Financial constraints on the company are preventing them from employing new staff. [U] formal unnatural behaviour that is sometimes the result of forcing yourself to act in a particular way: She tried to appear friendly, but her constraint was obvious. under constraint formal If you do something under constraint, you do it only because you have been forced to: They confessed, but only under severe constraint.
(Definition of constraint from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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