Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb re·fine \ri-ˈfīn\

Simple Definition of refine

  • : to remove the unwanted substances in (something)

  • : to improve (something) by making small changes

Full Definition of refine


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material

  3. 2 :  to free from moral imperfection :  elevate

  4. 3 :  to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing <refine a poetic style>

  5. 4 :  to reduce in vigor or intensity

  6. 5 :  to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to become pure or perfected

  9. 2 :  to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions

re·fin·er noun

Examples of refine

  1. The inventor of the machine spent years refining the design.

  2. The class is meant to help you refine your writing style.


First Known Use of refine


Rhymes with refine

A-line, affine, airline, align, alkyne, alpine, assign, at sign, balkline, baseline, beeline, benign, bloodline, blue line, blush wine, bovine, bowline, branchline, breadline, bright-line, buntline, bustline, byline, call sign, canine, caprine, carbine, carmine, cervine, chow line, clothesline, cloud nine, coastline, combine, compline, condign, confine, consign, corvine, cosign, cutline, dateline, deadline, decline, define, design, divine, dragline, driveline, earthshine, Einstein, eiswein, end line, enshrine, entwine, equine, ethyne, fall line, fault line, feline, ferine, first-line, flatline, flight line, foul line, fräulein, frontline, front line, goal line, gold mine, grapevine, guideline, hairline, hard-line, hard pine, headline, hemline, high sign, hipline, Holbein, hotline, ice wine, incline, indign, in fine, in-line, Irvine, jawline, jug wine, landline, land mine, lang syne, lifeline, load line, longline, lupine, mainline, main line, malign, midline, moline, moonshine, neckline, off-line, old-line, online, opine, outline, outshine, ovine, Pauline, peace sign, Petrine, pipeline, piscine, pitch pine, plotline, plumb line, plus sign, pontine, porcine, potline, pound sign, propine, punch line, rapine, recline, redline, red pine, reline, repine, resign, Rhine wine, ridgeline, roofline, Sabine, saline, Scotch pine, scrub pine, setline, shoreline, short line, sideline, sight line, skyline, snow line, soft-line, spring line, straight-line, strandline, straw wine, streamline, strip mine, strychnine, subline, sunshine, supine, syncline, taurine, tie-line, times sign, topline, touchline, towline, tramline, trapline, tree line, trephine, trotline, truckline, trunk line, tumpline, turbine, untwine, ursine, vespine, V sign, vulpine, waistline, white line, white pine, white wine, woodbine, yard line, zebrine, Z line

REFINE Defined for Kids


verb re·fine \ri-ˈfīn\

Definition of refine


  1. 1 :  to bring to a pure state <refine sugar>

  2. 2 :  to make better :  improve <He's refining his recipe.>

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb re·fine \ri-ˈfīn\

Medical Definition of refine


  1. :  to free (as sugar or oil) from impurities or unwanted material

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up refine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez kittly-benders spindrift duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.