Meaning of “constraint” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"constraint" in British English

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constraintnoun

uk /kənˈstreɪnt/ us /kənˈstreɪnt/

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 Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"constraint" in American English

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constraintnoun [ C ]

us /kənˈstreɪnt/

something that limits the range of a person’s actions or freedom:

In Egypt, the biggest constraint on new agricultural production is water.

(Definition of “constraint” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"constraint" in Business English

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constraintnoun [ C ]

uk /kənˈstreɪnt/ us

something that controls what you can do by keeping you within particular limits:

The constraint of distribution costs remains the severest of all.
budget/financial, etc. constraints This growth in revenue may soften the government's budget constraints and allow it to increase public spending.
big/major/serious constraint They believe that the new legislation will remove a major constraint to economic expansion.
a constraint on/to sth The cost of capital is an important constraint on business activity.
place/put a constraint on sth Some external factors placed constraints on the scope of the work that could be undertaken.
Among those conditions was a five-year time constraint. (= time limit)

(Definition of “constraint” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)