"act of constricting; state of being constricted," c. 1400, constriccioun, from Latin constrictionem (nominative constrictio) "a binding or drawing together," noun of action from past-participle stem of constringere "to bind together, tie tightly, fetter, shackle, chain," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + stringere "to draw tight" (see strain (v.)). From 1640s as "that which constricts."
1732, "to cause to draw together by external force or influence;" 1759, "to draw together at any point by force or action," a back-formation from constriction, or else from Latin constrictus, past participle of constringere "compress" (see constrain).
A direct borrowing from Latin of the same word which, via French, became constrain. Earlier in the same sense was constringe (c. 1600). Related: Constricted; constricting.
1560s, "quinsy," from choke (v.). Meaning "action of choking" is from 1839. Meaning "valve which controls air to a carburetor" first recorded 1926; earlier it meant "constriction in the bore of a gun" (1875).
bivalve mollusk, c. 1500 (in clam-shell), originally Scottish, apparently a particular use of Middle English clam "pincers, vice, clamp" (late 14c.), from Old English clamm "bond, fetter, grip, grasp," from Proto-Germanic *klam- "to press or squeeze together" (source also of Old High German klamma "cramp, fetter, constriction," German Klamm "a constriction"), possibly from a PIE *glem- or *glom- "contain, embrace" (see glebe).
If this is right then the original reference is to the shell. Clam-chowder attested from 1822. To be happy as a clam is from 1833, but the earliest uses do not elaborate on the notion behind it, unless it be self-containment.
c. 1400, "abnormal narrowing in a body part," from Late Latin strictura "contraction, constriction," from past participle stem of stringere (2) "to bind or draw tight" (see strain (v.)). Sense of "criticism, critical remark" is first recorded 1650s, perhaps from the other Latin word stringere "to touch lightly" (see strigil).
"epidemic influenza," 1776, probably from French grippe "influenza," originally "seizure," verbal noun from gripper "to grasp, hook," from Frankish or another Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *gripanan (see grip (v.), gripe (v.)). Supposedly in reference to constriction of the throat felt by sufferers; the word spread through European languages after the influenza epidemic during the Russian occupation of Prussia in the Seven Years' War (c. 1760), and Russian chirpu, said to be imitative of the sound of the cough, is sometimes said to be the origin or inspiration for the word.
"of or pertaining to the involuntary muscular movements of the hollow organs of the body," especially the alimentary canal, 1650s, from Modern Latin, from Greek peristaltikos (Galen), literally "contracting around," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + stalsis "checking, constriction," related to stellein "draw in, bring together; set in order," from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.