re·fine·ment | \ri-ˈfīn-mənt \

Definition of refinement 

1 : the action or process of refining

2 : the quality or state of being refined : cultivation

3a : a refined feature or method

b : a highly refined distinction : subtlety

c : a contrivance or device intended to improve or perfect

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Synonyms & Antonyms for refinement


advance, advancement, breakthrough, enhancement, improvement



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Examples of refinement in a Sentence

the recent refinements in this area of medical technology had a sense of refinement that her small hometown couldn't satisfy, so she moved to New York City to be closer to great museums and concert halls

Recent Examples on the Web

Originally slated to perform Tchaikovsky’s mammoth Piano Concerto No. 1, Lang ultimately scaled back to the classical refinements of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. Jeremy Eichler,, "Tanglewood opens with Bernstein’s exuberance, Lang Lang’s return," 8 July 2018 The delicate refinement of Carla Caruso, who makes the best hoop earrings on earth. Isa Giallorenzo, Chicago Reader, "Style Ravenswood's Sailor features jewelry, textiles, fine teas, handmade shoes, and more," 25 June 2018 At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Briscoe is a tenacious, defensive-minded player whose point guard skills still need refinement. Josh Robbins,, "Magic sign rookie free agent Isaiah Briscoe," 6 July 2018 In the 1870s, their technical refinement met a growing market of people who wanted a cold, sweet treat in the city. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Disposable America," 21 June 2018 Brown isn’t a great shooter and will require some refinement as a scorer, but won’t have to shoulder much of that load in Washington. Will Mccollister,, "Wizards Select Troy Brown with No. 15 Pick in 2018 NBA Draft," 21 June 2018 On the other hand, Danai Gurira opted for minimalist refinement in a pale pink Gabriela Hearst dress accented by a sleek diamond choker from Messika jewelry and a surprising bit of intricate hair art by Vernon Scott. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How the Black Panther Cast Shut Down the Oscars Red Carpet," 5 Mar. 2018 Though stainless steel, Carrara marble, glass fixtures, and a customized Dutch stove lend an air of refinement to the space, it is designed to be a workhorse. Zander Abranowicz, ELLE Decor, "A Modern Take on Greek Island Living in Serifos," 2 July 2018 At a brief Fed meeting to discuss the proposal, officials stressed that the changes were merely refinements that stemmed from their experience overseeing Volcker’s early implementation, including what did and did not work. Emily Flitter And Alan Rappeport,, "Big banks to get reprieve from Volcker Rule," 31 May 2018

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

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for refinement

The first known use of refinement was circa 1611

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More Definitions for refinement



English Language Learners Definition of refinement

: the act or process of removing unwanted substances from something : the act or process of making something pure

: the act or process of improving something

: an improved version of something


re·fine·ment | \ri-ˈfīn-mənt \

Kids Definition of refinement

1 : the act or process of improving something or bringing something to a pure state refinement of sugar

2 : excellence of manners or tastes a person of refinement

3 : a small change meant to improve something

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