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

Definition of refine

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

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Other Words from refine

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 In return the small clubs provide a supportive training ground, allowing young players to develop and refine their skills against competition of a similar age, without the pressure that exists at the major-league level. The Economist, "Trouble on the farm Minor-league baseball is getting squeezed," 16 Jan. 2021 Where predecessors debuted new technologies like 8K video recording and up to 100X zoom with the camera, Samsung's latest phones merely refine the Galaxy brand without adding much that's new. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "Everything Samsung Announced at Its 2021 'Unpacked' Event," 14 Jan. 2021 Gaudet, formerly of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will bring in a team to refine, implement and expand a more dynamic, motivated approach to health care, Walton said in January. Mike Jones, Arkansas Online, "Whole Health institute will be built on museum grounds," 17 Dec. 2020 One of his first tasks after joining the company was to refine the practice of producing ink copies of documents without the use of carbon paper. Star Tribune, "Does the concept of scratch-and-sniff T-shirts stink?," 4 Dec. 2020 At the bye, Stefanski will refine the playbook to maximize Mayfield’s strengths and coax a better second half out of him. cleveland, "Baker Mayfield has strung together two straight encouraging outings heading into 2nd half of the season," 6 Nov. 2020 As part of the comprehensive plan, the National Governors Association and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy released a review of state vaccine distribution plans that highlight challenges and strategies to help states refine their efforts. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "This group of governors represent 1 in 3 Americans. They're putting politics aside to defeat COVID-19 across state lines.," 11 Dec. 2020 Before taking such a step, all of them are conducting further studies designed to refine the systems, including work to reduce the rate of false-positives, which happen when a tool falsely flags a healthy person as sick. Erin Brodwin, STAT, "Early data suggest wearables can catch some cases of Covid-19 before symptoms emerge," 14 Dec. 2020 Fewer requested Tuesday that the ordinance move forward, with the chance to refine tenant protections later. Mallory Moench,, "S.F. reverses course on tobacco smoking ban inside apartment buildings, seeks more review," 8 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refine.' 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 refine

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for refine

Time Traveler

The first known use of refine was in 1582

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Statistics for refine

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for refine


How to pronounce refine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of refine

: to remove the unwanted substances in (something)
: to improve (something) by making small changes


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

Kids Definition of refine

1 : to bring to a pure state refine sugar
2 : to make better : improve He's refining his recipe.
re·​fine | \ ri-ˈfīn How to pronounce refine (audio) \
refined; refining

Medical Definition of refine

: to free (as sugar or oil) from impurities or unwanted material

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Comments on refine

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