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.

Nearby words

  1. refractory,
  2. refractory anemia,
  3. refractory period,
  4. refractory state,
  5. refracture,
  6. reframe,
  7. refrangible,
  8. refreeze,
  9. refresco,
  10. refresh

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

SYNONYMS FOR refrain
Related formsre·frain·er, nounre·frain·ment, nounun·re·frained, adjectiveun·re·frain·ing, adjective

Can be confusedrefrain restrain

refrain

2
[ 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for refrains


British Dictionary definitions for refrains

refrain

1
/ (rɪˈfreɪn) /

verb

(intr usually foll by from) to abstain (from action); forbear
Derived Formsrefrainer, nounrefrainment, noun

Word Origin for refrain

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

refrain

2
/ (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

Word Origin and History for refrains
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for refrains

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.