refine

verb

re·​fine ri-ˈfīn How to pronounce refine (audio)
refined; refining

transitive verb

1
: to free (something, such as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
2
: to free from moral imperfection : elevate
3
: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
refine a poetic style
4
: to reduce in vigor or intensity
5
: to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth

intransitive verb

1
: to become pure or perfected
2
: to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions
refiner noun

Examples of refine in a Sentence

The inventor of the machine spent years refining the design. The class is meant to help you refine your writing style.
Recent Examples on the Web This process helps refine your product, ensuring the final version is polished and user-centric. Ranghan Venkatraman, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 As one of the most powerful forces in sports and media, and by far TV’s main attraction, the NFL has thus refined its approach throughout the years. Brian Lowry, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 Golden and Steiner are refining the details of their bills as lawmakers prepare for their monthlong session. Rob Davis, ProPublica, 2 Feb. 2024 The city selected the top three proposals and held three public meetings with the community and a jury of experts to further refine the ideas. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Feb. 2024 Substance use diseases are difficult to study in preclinical animal models, which complicates attempts to assess and refine treatments before they are deployed in humans. Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 The bomber boys were put through the aerial equivalent of a meat grinder — all to refine a military strategy that would become almost immediately irrelevant. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2024 The nation’s capital, built on water, struggles to keep from drowning Over the weeks that followed, the students refined their proposal, meeting privately with board members and spreading their message to teens across the city. Lauren Lumpkin, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2024 Patrick said the focus groups are part of the ongoing effort to refine the high-speed train ride and the public input when the mock-up is exhibited at the State Fair will continue that process. Randy Diamond, Sacramento Bee, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'refine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of refine was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near refine

Cite this Entry

“Refine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refine. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

refine

verb
re·​fine ri-ˈfīn How to pronounce refine (audio)
refined; refining
1
: to come or bring to a pure state
refine sugar
2
: to make or become improved
3
: to free from what is vulgar
4
: to improve by introducing something that makes a small difference
refined upon the older methods
refiner noun

Medical Definition

refine

transitive verb
re·​fine ri-ˈfīn How to pronounce refine (audio)
refined; refining
: to free (as sugar or oil) from impurities or unwanted material

More from Merriam-Webster on refine

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