- to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities: to refine metal, sugar, or petroleum.
- to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
- to bring to a finer state or form by purifying.
- to make more fine, subtle, or precise: to refine one's writing style.
- to become pure: The silver is refining in the furnace.
- to become more fine, elegant, or polished: His parents hope that his manners will refine as he gets older.
- to make fine distinctions in thought or language.
- refine on/upon, to improve by inserting finer distinctions, superior elements, etc.: to refine on one's previous work.
Origin of refine
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to make or become free from impurities, sediment, or other foreign matter; purify
- (tr) to separate (a mixture) into pure constituents, as in an oil refinery
- to make or become free from coarse characteristics; make or become elegant or polished
- (tr often foll by out) to remove (something impure or extraneous)
- (intr ; often foll by on or upon) to enlarge or improve (upon) by making subtle or fine distinctions
- (tr) to make (language) more subtle or polished
Word Origin for refine
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.