What's the difference? The dictionary definitions sound awfully similar.

1 Answer 1


Restrict means to limit or control a thing; constrict means to tighten or narrow something, usually by applying pressure. Here's a sentence that illustrates the difference:

The snake coiled around his torso, constricting his chest; this, in turn, restricted his breathing.

  • 1
    Right. My confusion arises from the fact that narrowing/tightening something (i.e. constricting it) is one way to limit (i.e. restrict) that thing. In other words, constricting something implies the restriction of another thing.
    – pseudosudo
    Feb 23, 2011 at 1:57
  • 2
    @Jasper Loy: Agreed. I myself would use constrain as a synonym for restrict before I would turn to constrict for that purpose.
    – Robusto
    Feb 23, 2011 at 1:58

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