- 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
Examples from the Web for refine
It makes us refine our arguments, and search for greater efficiencies, and do our jobs better.A U.S. Thanksgiving—Family Style: Fractious but Friendly
November 24, 2013
Saudi Arabia sits on top of a vast reservoir of high quality oil that is cheap to pump and cheap to refine.
But in the late 19th century, we learned how to refine grain and make white flour.It’s the End of the World Unless We All Start Cooking
April 23, 2013
We continue to research and refine abortion care while helping to break down barriers separating women from high-quality services.More on Dr. Gosnell
April 18, 2013
Iran imports food, machinery and even gasoline, as it cannot refine enough to fuel its own cars.Iran Sanctions: What's the Mission?
October 15, 2012
But the butcher had a sentiment for his business, and knew how to refine upon it.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
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
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
- 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
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
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.