[ reyn ]
/ reɪn /
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.
verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
to obey the reins: a horse that reins well.
to rein a horse or other animal.
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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
1300–50; (noun) Middle English rene, reine, raine < Old French re(s)ne < Vulgar Latin *retina, noun derivative of Latin retinēre to hold back, retain; (v.) Middle English rainen, reinen, derivative of the noun
Related formsrein·less, adjectiveun·reined, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for give rein to
/ (reɪn) /
(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
See also rein in
Word Origin for rein
C13: from Old French resne, from Latin retinēre to hold back, from re- + tenēre to hold; see restrain
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
Idioms and Phrases with give rein to (1 of 2)
give rein to
see under free hand.
Idioms and Phrases with give rein to (2 of 2)
see draw in the reins; free hand (rein) tight rein on.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.