- Often reins. a leather strap, fastened to each end of the bit of a bridle, by which the rider or driver controls a horse or other animal by pulling so as to exert pressure on the bit.
- any of certain other straps or thongs forming part of a harness, as a checkrein.
- any means of curbing, controlling, or directing; check; restraint.
- reins, the controlling or directing power: the reins of government.
- to check or guide (a horse or other animal) by exerting pressure on a bridle bit by means of the reins.
- to curb; restrain; control.
- to obey the reins: a horse that reins well.
- to rein a horse or other animal.
- draw rein, to curtail one's speed or progress; halt: The rider saw the snake and drew rein sharply.
- give rein to, to give complete freedom to; indulge freely: to give rein to one's imagination.Also give free rein to, give full rein to.
Origin of rein
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- the kidneys.
- the region of the kidneys, or the lower part of the back.
- (especially in Biblical use) the seat of the feelings or affections, formerly identified with the kidneys.
Origin of reins
Examples from the Web for rein
In retirement, Frank is consciously trying to pare down and rein in.Richard Ford’s Artful Survivalist Guide: The Return of Frank Bascombe
November 4, 2014
Congress itself ironically recognized as much in its effort to rein in presidential use of force after Vietnam.Who Gets to Decide When We Go to War?
September 21, 2014
There are times where we do takes that are so crazy that we have to rein it in.Inside the Mind of The Mindy Project’s Resident Weirdo, Ike Barinholtz
September 16, 2014
He organized a bipartisan effort to rein in the National Security Agency that came within a few votes of passing the House.Big Business Vs. Libertarians in the GOP
June 12, 2014
Hopefully, the Ukrainian people will rein in their ‘heroes’ for the cause of the greater good.Occupy Kiev: What Should Ukraine Do Now With The Heroes of the Maidan?
February 26, 2014
He gathered in the rein until he had it six inches from the bit.
To use the one rein meant a crash into the rail, and surely death.
Then he wiped the rein with his coat tail and looked at it admiringly.
Throbbing with a grateful, craving allegiance, I seized the rein.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
The first thing that occurred to him was to free Mukhorty's leg from the rein.Master and Man
- (often plural) one of a pair of long straps, usually connected together and made of leather, used to control a horse, running from the side of the bit or the headstall to the hand of the rider, driver, or trainer
- a similar device used to control a very young child
- any form or means of controlto take up the reins of government
- the direction in which a rider turns (in phrases such as on a left (or right) rein, change the rein)
- something that restrains, controls, or guides
- give free rein or give a free rein to allow considerable freedom; remove restraints
- keep a tight rein on to control carefully; limitwe have to keep a tight rein on expenditure
- on a long rein with the reins held loosely so that the horse is relatively unconstrained
- shorten the reins to take up the reins so that the distance between hand and bit is lessened, in order that the horse may be more collected
- (tr) to check, restrain, hold back, or halt with or as if with reins
- to control or guide (a horse) with a rein or reinsthey reined left
- archaic the kidneys or loins
Word Origin and History for rein
c.1300, "strap fastened to a bridle," from Old French rene, resne "reins, bridle strap, laces" (Modern French rêne), probably from Vulgar Latin *retina "a bond, check," back-formation from Latin retinere "hold back" (see retain). To give something free rein is originally of horses.
c.1300, from rein (n.). Figurative extension "put a check on" first recorded 1580s. Related: Reined; reining. To rein up "halt" (1550s) is from the way to make a horse stop by pulling up on the reins.
see rein (n.). Figurative sense "means of controlling; control, check, restraint" is from early 14c.
- The kidneys, loins, or lower back.