refrain

1
[ ri-freyn ]
/ rɪˈfreɪn /

verb (used without object)

to abstain from an impulse to say or do something (often followed by from): I refrained from telling him what I thought.

verb (used with object)

Archaic. to curb.

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Let the aeolian gusts transport you back to these popular Words of the Day from the month of May. How many do you remember?
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to travel or journey, especially to walk on foot”?

Origin of refrain

1
1300–50; Middle English refreinen < Old French refrener < Latin refrēnāre to bridle, equivalent to re- re- + frēn(um) bridle + -āre infinitive suffix

OTHER WORDS FROM refrain

re·frain·er, nounre·frain·ment, nounun·re·frained, adjectiveun·re·frain·ing, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH refrain

refrain restrain

Definition for refrain (2 of 2)

refrain2
[ ri-freyn ]
/ rɪˈfreɪn /

noun

a phrase or verse recurring at intervals in a song or poem, especially at the end of each stanza; chorus.
Music.
  1. a musical setting for the refrain of a poem.
  2. any melody.
  3. the principal, recurrent section of a rondo.

Origin of refrain

2
1325–75; Middle English refreyne < Old French refrain, derivative of refraindre to break sequence < Vulgar Latin *refrangere, for Latin refringere to refract
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for refrain

British Dictionary definitions for refrain (1 of 2)

refrain1
/ (rɪˈfreɪn) /

verb

(intr usually foll by from) to abstain (from action); forbear

Derived forms of refrain

refrainer, nounrefrainment, noun

Word Origin for refrain

C14: from Latin refrēnāre to check with a bridle, from re- + frēnum a bridle

British Dictionary definitions for refrain (2 of 2)

refrain2
/ (rɪˈfreɪn) /

noun

a regularly recurring melody, such as the chorus of a song
a much repeated saying or idea

Word Origin for refrain

C14: via Old French, ultimately from Latin refringere to break into pieces
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

Cultural definitions for refrain

refrain

In some pieces of verse, a set of words repeated at the end of each stanza.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.