verb \ri-ˈfrān\

: to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do

Full Definition of REFRAIN

transitive verb
:  curb, restrain
intransitive verb
:  to keep oneself from doing, feeling, or indulging in something and especially from following a passing impulse <refrained from having dessert>
re·frain·ment \-mənt\ noun

Examples of REFRAIN

  1. I was going to make a joke but I refrained.

Origin of REFRAIN

Middle English refreynen, from Anglo-French refreiner, refreindre, from Latin refrenare, from re- + frenum bridle — more at frenum
First Known Use: 14th century



: a phrase or verse that is repeated regularly in a poem or song

: a comment or statement that is often repeated

Full Definition of REFRAIN

:  a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song :  chorus; also :  the musical setting of a refrain

Examples of REFRAIN

  1. A common refrain among teachers these days is that the schools need more funding.
  2. <I didn't know the verses of the song, so I only sang on the refrain.>

Origin of REFRAIN

Middle English refreyn, from Middle French refrain, alteration of Old French refrait melody, response, from past participle of refraindre to break up, moderate, from Vulgar Latin *refrangere, alteration of Latin refringere — more at refract
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to REFRAIN

burden, chorus

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, riff, segue


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