- to abstain from an impulse to say or do something (often followed by from): I refrained from telling him what I thought.
- Archaic. to curb.
Origin of refrain1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for refrain on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for refraining
In short, does refraining from running buses on Shabbat serve to unify the country around the symbol of the Jewish week?Left-Wing Party Runs Buses On The Sabbath
January 8, 2013
In some cases, people are refraining from shaving to benefit a charity—but not the ones tied to Movember.Behind the Movember Movement’s Fight to Keep Charity Tied to Mustache
November 23, 2012
Augustin explained, refraining with difficulty from a dance of rage.The Wild Geese
Stanley John Weyman
He himself had had some difficulty in breathing, and refraining with an effort from coughing.Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay
G. Harvey Ralphson
If he is innocent you are doing him no service by refraining from helping us.The Grell Mystery
"He has been unfortunate," replied Nellie, refraining from an expression of her own feelings.Under Fire
Frank A. Munsey
This also involves the power of restraint, the act or the refraining from action.The New Avatar and The Destiny of the Soul
Jirah D. Buck
- (intr usually foll by from) to abstain (from action); forbear
- a regularly recurring melody, such as the chorus of a song
- a much repeated saying or idea
Word Origin and History for refraining
mid-14c., from Old French refraigner "restrain, repress, keep in check" (12c., Modern French Réfréner), from Latin refrenare "to bridle, hold in with a bit, check, curb, keep down, control," from re- "back" (see re-) + frenare "restrain, furnish with a bridle," from frenum "a bridle." Related: Refrained; refraining.
late 14c., from Old French refrain "chorus" (13c.), alteration of refrait, noun use of past participle of refraindre "repeat," also "break off," from Vulgar Latin *refrangere "break off," alteration of Latin refringere "break up, break open" (see refraction) by influence of frangere "to break." Influenced in French by cognate Provençal refranhar "singing of birds, refrain." The notion is of something that causes a song to "break off" then resume. OED says not common before 19c.