Difference Between Constraint and Restraint

Main Difference

Both these words are often confused as many people believe that both these words have the similar meanings. Following it both these words are used interchangeably. While a closer look upon their usage and meaning in English language makes them easily differentiable. It should be kept mentioned that both these terms are used in various fields like physics, mathematics and computing, but here they will be distinguished upon their general usage and meaning. Constraint is a word that refers to imposition of restriction and limitation over the action being done, whereas restraint is a word that refers to holding or controlling back of someone or something. The word constraint is used as a restriction that prevents one from performing certain action, on the other hand, restraint refers to the action of keeping control on someone or something.

Comparison Chart

ConstraintRestraint
DerivedThe word restraint is derived from the Old French word “constraindre” that refers to the limiting and restriction of certain action.The word restraint is derived from the Old French term “restreindre” that means‘to hold back.
MeaningConstraint is a word that refers to imposition of restriction and limitation over the action being done.Restraint is a word that refers to holding or controlling back of someone or something.
ActionThe word constraint is used as a restriction that prevents one from performing certain action.Restraint refers to the action of keeping control on someone or something.

What is Constraint?

It is the word referring to the limiting or restricting from performing the particular function. It shows the prevention of certain work. For instance, ‘Time constraints make it impossible to do everything’, in this sentence constraints is used along with the factor (time) and shows the prevention of work. The time in the sentence is the reason that works as hindrance while performing the work. Constraint is the word that shows the limitation or restriction of your own choices, it directly avoids you from doing that specific action in that particular way or gives you the time limit. This word actually refers to the ending of your own choices, and this restriction or limitation can work as a hurdle or may led to the prevention of performing that action. The other usage of word constraint is that it refers to the stiffness of manner and inhibition in relations between people. Here how it is used in the sentence, ‘after a long time they talked without constraint.’

What is Restraint?

It is the word referring to the controlling or holding back of someone or something. The word can be used by an individual himself/herself also when he/she holds back or controls. If a person is abused but doesn’t responds or controls in a way this shows the action of restraint.The word restraint is derived from the Old French term “restreindre” that means‘to hold back’. The word restraint is used as noun and is mainly used in two ways as one refers to self-control (controlling your own self) or performing of the moderate behavior, in the other way it means the measure or a condition that keeps the functions under control or let happens performing of different functions smoothly. Here is the sentence usage of the word as noun in both the different ways respectively, ‘Even when he was bullied, he exercised restraint’, and ‘The incentives announced were within the financial restraints of the budget.’

Constraint vs. Restraint

  • The word restraint is derived from the Old French term “restreindre” that means‘to hold back’, whereas the word restraint is derived from the Old French word “constraindre” that refers to the limiting and restriction of certain action.
  • Constraint is a word that refers to imposition of restriction and limitation over the action being done, whereas restraint is a word that refers to holding or controlling back of someone or something.
  • The word constraint is used as a restriction that prevents one from performing certain action, on the other hand, restraint refers to the action of keeping control on someone or something.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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