- to abstain from an impulse to say or do something (often followed by from): I refrained from telling him what I thought.
- Archaic. to curb.
Origin of refrain1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for refrained
Fearing another backlash, however, the government has refrained from doing so.Jafar Panahi: Filmmaking Ban Is My Iranian Prison
July 8, 2014
He later reported that he “from decency, refrained from asking her about Tupac.”Tupac and Murray Kempton: The Godfather Who Wore Tweed
June 22, 2014
Politico at least has refrained from giving us a headline praising Ryan today.Ryan's Mixed Reception, I Think
March 12, 2013
There were gun advocates in that room who waited for their turn to be heard and who refrained from confronting a grieving man.The Newtown Heckling Controversy
January 30, 2013
This time around, when he came to New York in September, he refrained from making a prediction, lest he be wrong again.Many Iranians See Nuke Talks, No Military Attack With Obama Reelection
November 8, 2012
They refrained from going to the bottom of facts and motives.The Secret Agent
The two women were rather startled, but refrained from all protestation.The Fat and the Thin
Ah, when I think that I once raised my revolver to shoot you and refrained!
Impatient to glance behind, she only refrained for prudential reasons.The Strollers
Frederic S. Isham
Brazzier was quick to comprehend the situation, and he refrained.Adrift on the Pacific
Edward S. Ellis
- (intr usually foll by from) to abstain (from action); forbear
- a regularly recurring melody, such as the chorus of a song
- a much repeated saying or idea
Word Origin and History for refrained
mid-14c., from Old French refraigner "restrain, repress, keep in check" (12c., Modern French Réfréner), from Latin refrenare "to bridle, hold in with a bit, check, curb, keep down, control," from re- "back" (see re-) + frenare "restrain, furnish with a bridle," from frenum "a bridle." Related: Refrained; refraining.
late 14c., from Old French refrain "chorus" (13c.), alteration of refrait, noun use of past participle of refraindre "repeat," also "break off," from Vulgar Latin *refrangere "break off," alteration of Latin refringere "break up, break open" (see refraction) by influence of frangere "to break." Influenced in French by cognate Provençal refranhar "singing of birds, refrain." The notion is of something that causes a song to "break off" then resume. OED says not common before 19c.