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refine

[ri-fahyn]
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verb (used with object), re·fined, re·fin·ing.
  1. to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities: to refine metal, sugar, or petroleum.
  2. to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
  3. to bring to a finer state or form by purifying.
  4. to make more fine, subtle, or precise: to refine one's writing style.
verb (used without object), re·fined, re·fin·ing.
  1. to become pure: The silver is refining in the furnace.
  2. to become more fine, elegant, or polished: His parents hope that his manners will refine as he gets older.
  3. to make fine distinctions in thought or language.
Verb Phrases
  1. refine on/upon, to improve by inserting finer distinctions, superior elements, etc.: to refine on one's previous work.

Origin of refine

First recorded in 1575–85; re- + fine1
Related formsre·fin·a·ble, adjectivere·fin·er, nounpre·re·fine, verb (used with object), pre·re·fined, pre·re·fin·ing.self-re·fin·ing, adjectivesu·per·re·fine, verb (used with object), su·per·re·fined, su·per·re·fin·ing.un·re·fin·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for refine

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But the butcher had a sentiment for his business, and knew how to refine upon it.

  • Resist it not; it goes to refine and raise thy theory of matter just as much.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Loving is an art, and we all need to learn the art and to refine its practice.

    Herein is Love</p>

    Reuel L. Howe

  • Beer does not refine, perhaps,97 but at any rate it mellows.

    Europe After 8:15

    H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright

  • For the necessity for concentration only serves to strengthen and refine her aspiration.

    The Heart of Nature

    Francis Younghusband


British Dictionary definitions for refine

refine

verb
  1. to make or become free from impurities, sediment, or other foreign matter; purify
  2. (tr) to separate (a mixture) into pure constituents, as in an oil refinery
  3. to make or become free from coarse characteristics; make or become elegant or polished
  4. (tr often foll by out) to remove (something impure or extraneous)
  5. (intr ; often foll by on or upon) to enlarge or improve (upon) by making subtle or fine distinctions
  6. (tr) to make (language) more subtle or polished
Derived Formsrefinable, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from re- + fine 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for refine

v.

1580s, of metals, c.1590 of manners, from re-, intensive prefix, + obsolete fine (v.) "make fine," from fine (adj.) "delicate." Cf. French raffiner, Italian raffinare, Spanish refinar. General and figurative sense is recorded from 1590s; of sugar, from 1610s. Related: Refined; refining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

refine in Medicine

refine

([object Object])
v.
  1. To reduce to a pure state; purify.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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