noun \ˈrān\

: a strap that is fastened to a device (called a bridle) placed on the head of an animal (such as a horse) and that is used to guide and control the animal

: the ability to limit or control something

: the power to guide or control someone or something

Full Definition of REIN

:  a strap fastened to a bit by which a rider or driver controls an animal —usually used in plural
a :  a restraining influence :  check <kept a tight rein on the proceedings>
b :  controlling or guiding power —usually used in plural <the reins of government>
:  opportunity for unhampered activity or use <gave full rein to her imagination>

Examples of REIN

  1. He has people working for him, but he has a tight rein on every part of the process.
  2. <after the president resigned, the vice president stepped in and took the reins of the company>

Illustration of REIN

Origin of REIN

Middle English reine, from Anglo-French resne, reine, from Vulgar Latin *retina, from Latin retinēre to restrain — more at retain
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Equestrian Terms

canter, cantle, curry, farrier, hunter, paddock, router, skirt, tack



Definition of REIN

transitive verb
:  to control or direct with or as if with reins
:  to check or stop by or as if by a pull at the reins <reined in her horse> <couldn't rein his impatience>
intransitive verb
archaic :  to submit to the use of reins
:  to stop or slow up one's horse or oneself by or as if by pulling the reins

First Known Use of REIN

15th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: reina
Previous Word in the Dictionary: reimpression
All Words Near: rein

Seen & Heard

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

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More