re·​fi·​nance | \ ˌrē-fə-ˈnan(t)s How to pronounce refinance (audio) , (ˌ)rē-ˈfī-ˌnan(t)s, ˌrē-(ˌ)fī-ˈnan(t)s\
refinanced; refinancing; refinances

Definition of refinance

: to renew or reorganize the financing of something : to provide for (an outstanding indebtedness) by making or obtaining another loan or a larger loan on fresh terms refinance a mortgage With rates tumbling, pay a little more now and retain the flexibility to refinance again next year.— Daniel Kadlec

Examples of refinance in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Applications to refinance mortgages are more sensitive to rates and fell last week to the lowest level since December 2000, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Mortgage interest rates 2018: Rates hit 7-year high, slow home sales," 24 May 2018 Photo: Kholood Eid for The Wall Street Journal Servicing rights generally become more valuable as interest rates rise because borrowers are less likely to refinance their loans and the stream of income from servicing continues for longer. Ben Eisen, WSJ, "The Hot Trade in the Housing Market: Servicing Your Mortgage," 13 Feb. 2019 The spike has led to steadily falling mortgage applications, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, with mortgage refinances fallen by double digit percentages compared to a year ago. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Is the housing market starting to cool off?," 2 Aug. 2018 Many weaker private firms are therefore struggling to refinance. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "The Missing Chinese Bond Apocalypse," 28 Mar. 2019 The idea was to refinance before the rate reset, but many homeowners never got the chance before the crisis began and credit became unavailable. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018 Last year, city officials decided to refinance the hotel bonds. Meredith Cohn,, "Baltimore's 10-year-old convention hotel finally makes a profit," 27 June 2018 This measure entails permanently waiving an annual penalty on 11.3 billion euros of loans that were extended in 2012 to refinance a debt buyback operation then. Viktoria Dendrinou,, "Greek Debt Talks: the Main Relief Measures Being Considered," 18 June 2018 East Aurora School District 131 is looking to refinance bonds, the second phase of a three-part plan that could help avoid future spikes in a portion of homeowners’ property tax bills. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "East Aurora looking to refinance bonds," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refinance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of refinance

1995, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for refinance

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for refinance

The first known use of refinance was in 1995

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Financial Definition of refinance

What It Is

Refinance refers to the replacement of a debt with new debt bearing different terms.

How It Works

Financing involves borrowing a specific amount of money over a length of time at an agreed-upon interest rate.  Payments on the debt are divided between interest and principal.  If circumstances change, for example, the length of time needed to repay the debt is longer and the lender agrees, the loan may be refinanced, extending the term and lowering the period payments (because they are extended over a longer period of time.)  If interest rates change, the debt may be refinanced using a lower interest rate.

For example, the $150,000 loan below is shown with a term of 15 years at 8% per year.  By year 5, the market interest rate drops to 5%.  When the loan is refinanced over the balance of the term, for example, the savings in principal and interest payments on the loan will be over 32,000.

Refinancing may also convert an adjustable rate mortgage to a fix rate mortgage, reducing the interest rate risk to the borrower.

Why It Matters

Refinancing may be restricted on debts containing "call provisions," requiring a penalty payment in the event of a refinancing. In addition, a refinancing usually requires a closing and transaction fee that may be expensive. As a result, it is important to calculate the present value (the value in today's dollars) of the savings and compare it to the closing costs of the refinancing.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of refinance

: to get a new loan to pay (an older debt) : to finance (something) again


transitive verb
re·​fi·​nance | \ ˌrē-fə-ˈnans, -ˈfī-ˌnans How to pronounce refinance (audio) \

Legal Definition of refinance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to renew or reorganize the financing of
2 : to revise the terms of (a debt obligation) especially in regard to interest rate or payment schedule refinance a mortgage

intransitive verb

: to finance something anew



Legal Definition of refinance (Entry 2 of 2)

: a financing of something anew especially : a revision of the terms of a debt obligation (as a mortgage)

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refinance

Spanish Central: Translation of refinance

Nglish: Translation of refinance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refinance for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refinance

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


something valued as if it were money

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