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
May 30, 2015
metadata Hear it
data about other data
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears