Difference Between Constraint & Restraint

Constraint and restraint are two English words that can be quite confusing for many people due to their similarities in meaning. Some individuals use these words interchangeably, but upon closer examination, there are clear differences between the two. This article will discuss these distinctions, enabling readers to utilize the words correctly in various contexts.

Key Takeaways

  • Constraints are external limitations on a person’s freedom of action, such as time constraints or budgetary constraints.
  • Restraints are internal limitations that individuals impose on themselves, such as restraining oneself from eating unhealthy food.
  • Both constraint and restraint refer to limitations placed on things and people, but constraints are imposed by external factors, while restraints are self-imposed.


The term constraint refers to something that restricts our freedom of action. It is often used in the context of time constraints in finishing a project or budgetary constraints, which indicate how a shortage of time or limited funds can affect the quality of a project. Sometimes, a building or structure needs to be completed within a specific timeframe due to an important deadline. In such cases, time constraints are said to be dominant and affect the decisions of engineers and builders. Constraint, then, is something that limits our freedom of action or choice. In business, constraining factors can include government policies, bank interest rates, and other business-specific issues. Choices may be limited by these constraining factors.

In all societies, individuals’ personal liberties have been subject to constraints to prevent them from acting in ways that could be harmful to society at large. It seems that constraints are limiting factors imposed upon people and organizations by authorities. Even morals and customs in a society can be considered constraints placed on individual and group behavior.


When someone holds themselves back, controls or limits themselves, they are said to be restraining themselves. Anything that controls a person’s actions is referred to as a restraining factor. For example, if someone remains calm when provoked by others through insults, they are said to observe or exercise restraint. Therefore, a person who does not retaliate in the face of severe provocation is demonstrating admirable restraint.

A device used to control a pet’s movement can also be called a restraint, such as when you hold a dog’s leash. In this case, the leash acts as a restraint, helping to control the dog’s movement.

Understanding the Difference between Constraint and Restraint

• Both restraint and constraint pertain to limitations placed on things and people.
• While external restrictions like laws and customs lead to constraints, restraints are internal restrictions that individuals place on themselves.
• For example, restraining oneself from eating unhealthy food because it is harmful to one’s health.
• Shortages of funds and time are often referred to as budgetary constraints and time constraints, respectively.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles