Definition of straitjacket in US English:


(also straightjacket)


  • 1A strong garment with long sleeves which can be tied together to confine the arms of a violent prisoner or mental patient.

    • ‘The treatments comprised straightjackets, seclusion, insulin shock and electric shock treatment, that was it.’
    • ‘You probably want to know what it is like in a mental ward; you've never been there, and the only image you can conjure is what the movies show you: antiseptic white with straitjackets and rubber rooms.’
    • ‘I told Paul C. that there were no straitjackets or handcuffs involved in that performance, at all.’
    • ‘She was known for choosing the most difficult assignments, caring for the terminally ill and even the deranged patients that often were brought in straitjackets.’
    • ‘The author regularly seems less like a journalist interviewing a subject than a therapist who has foolishly removed her patient's straitjacket so they can head off for a jaunt in the jungle.’
    • ‘The poisoned workers were taken from the plant in straitjackets, hallucinating, convulsing and screaming.’
    • ‘Shirui, himself, was the one who strapped Lhee into a straightjacket and threw him into the mental hospital.’
    • ‘He once swam a mile with his hands and feet handcuffed together and did 12 lengths in a straitjacket.’
    • ‘Then he used them to make mini straitjackets for the twins.’
    • ‘For good behaviour, I was allowed to go around without a straightjacket and even visit with some of the more sane patients.’
    • ‘It's one of the more panic-inducing screen sequences in memory: In a hospital morgue, a mental patient is trussed in a straitjacket and locked away in the airless dark of a body storage drawer.’
    • ‘And we were taken to be strapped together in an all-in-one straitjacket.’
    • ‘My dad asked whether this man should merely be removed from office, or whether he should be placed into a straitjacket immediately after.’
    • ‘I thought of this as the men in white suits put the white straitjacket on me and shepherded me into a white vehicle leading me to a white building with shiny white linoleum floors, white walls and indeed white everywhere.’
    • ‘Sometimes they put me in there without a straitjacket if I'm not too violent.’
    • ‘After the treatment, we see her standing dazed in a straitjacket, muttering unintelligibly, her hair standing on end, sparks flying from her head.’
    • ‘The pupils are hard at work and Blaine will be treated to a display including a lampshade which induces insanity, a multi-coloured straitjacket and a speech by each pupil explaining their work.’
    • ‘The empty sleeves are wrapped around the figure and stapled like a straitjacket.’
    • ‘He was on a gurney, all wrapped up in a straitjacket and his feet were chained together.’
    • ‘A quick strong jerk and the straitjacket burst up high into the air.’
    1. 1.1 Used in reference to something that restricts freedom of action, development, or expression.
      ‘the government is operating in an economic straitjacket’
      • ‘She refuses to let herself be confined in any of the old world's many straightjackets.’
      • ‘What you had always done was to entomb your inner personal centre within the constricting straitjacket of certain words and formulae.’
      • ‘They quarantined the city workers' struggle, confining it within the political straitjacket of collective bargaining and appeals to the big business politicians.’
      • ‘Any form of independent resistance by workers, any attempt to break out of the straitjacket and control of the trade unions, is to be prevented under all circumstances.’
      • ‘The author is so keen to break out of the straitjacket of conventional narrative that he forgets to include a plot.’
      • ‘Of course this does not mean that the courts have to put their reasoning into the straitjacket of first construing the statute in the abstract and then looking at the facts.’
      • ‘Men have long considered traditional marital roles ‘anemic and constricting,’ according to Real, and no longer being the sole breadwinner is a loosening of the straitjacket.’
      • ‘Of course I do not seek to put the trial judge in a straightjacket.’
      • ‘They can step outside of the conformist straitjackets of their own culture and become hip, become cool.’
      • ‘By placing women in ideological straitjackets, both the feminist and traditionalist women's groups have made themselves largely irrelevant to today's women.’
      • ‘We must break through the mental straitjacket and realize that another world is possible.’
      • ‘Slipping on a straitjacket of simplistic logic, we come to believe that the disorder must, or at the very least should, be overcome by an application of willpower.’
      • ‘We've got the government ordering us to zip up our mental straitjackets in public.’
      • ‘Yet they're all built from the wiggle-room found inside the tightest of genre straitjackets.’
      • ‘Mr McNamara, for the defendant, submits that the Framework does not impose a straitjacket but that in any event the matter was approached correctly in terms of the flowchart in Figure 5.’
      • ‘The political straitjacket of the two-party system that has confined the American working class is objectively finished.’
      • ‘It's as if defensive coordinators have wiggled out of straitjackets and finally can turn the pages of their playbooks again.’
      • ‘The Commission, for its part, has generally not sought to impose any procedural straitjackets.’
      • ‘We have to be careful, as you would understand, putting straitjackets on either judges or counsel.’
      • ‘Defining public use narrowly would put a straitjacket on governments in devising solutions to difficult social problems.’
      restrictions, trammels, restraints, constraints
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[with object]
  • 1Restrain with a straitjacket.

    • ‘In terms of the film's representations of Billie, straitjacketed and screaming, she is presented metaphorically as a swaddling baby as she cries out for care.’
    • ‘We have been locked in seclusion, placed in restraints, chemically and physically straitjacketed, lobotomized, shocked and beaten because we protested too much.’
    1. 1.1 Impose severely restrictive measures on (a person or activity)
      ‘the treaty should not be used as a tool to straitjacket international trade’
      • ‘It is a world that has more meaning for them than the badly-run straitjacketed confines of government schools.’
      • ‘She can write an expansive melody that's well structured but isn't straitjacketed by chorus and verse.’
      • ‘He likes the open-endedness of this, after the straitjacketing rigours of mechanical engineering.’
      • ‘The organisations also require ownership from the people on the ground and time to develop before we move headlong into another straitjacketed, bureaucratic institution.’
      • ‘Ignore those who would straightjacket permissible thought.’
      • ‘Since then medical practice has been straitjacketed by its artificiality, to the detriment of the patient's own narrative.’
      • ‘His gestures, his mannerisms and voice all seem too large, too forced to give Biggs any chance of not being the standard straitjacketed worshipper of protocol.’
      • ‘Such a person likes the idea of exposure to the stock markets where the investment risk is well spread out and the fund manager is straitjacketed into index tracking with no outside bets possible.’
      • ‘That is a deliberate attempt to straitjacket the winner of Brazil's presidential election, due in October.’
      • ‘Beyond that, Wilson's dictatorial approach straitjackets the singers, who function as little more than slaves to the director's concept.’
      • ‘The music center, which is positioned above the shopping like a keystone connecting the two sides of the building, is wedged in unceremoniously, and visually lost, straitjacketed by the larger building.’
      • ‘The façade never quite resolves its identity crisis, and the rigid design straitjackets other intimations of a hidden life.’
      • ‘Their role is to straitjacket the working class and organize defeats.’
      • ‘There's not enough there to carry it into the classic league, and somehow the comedy is let down by the straitjacketing of the plot.’
      • ‘But even before illness took hold, Semmelweis was straitjacketed by fear, Nuland maintains.’
      • ‘There are undoubtedly areas where the government is moving more and more to straitjacket the courts.’
      • ‘I'd probably frame it more in terms of a clash of belief systems: monotheistic Christianity straitjacketing polytheistic animism into more polarised gender roles, and introducing the concept of sin.’
      • ‘This is a crude attempt to straitjacket the working class, to prevent it from adopting an independent class viewpoint.’
      • ‘Interestingly, the employees do not work in a rigid, straitjacketed fashion.’
      • ‘His argument is simply that there is a delicate balance between being prepared, and being straightjacketed.’
      hinder, interfere with, impede, hamper, obstruct, block, slow, check, curb, retard, handicap, tie, cramp
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See strait-laced