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

The first-generation Discovery, on the other hand, managed to combine most of the off-road capability of the Defender with most of the refinement of the Range Rover. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "This Old Land Rover Is the Best Road-Trip Truck," 1 July 2018 With advances in technology and further refinement of the concept, missions to the Venusian atmosphere can expand humanity’s future in space. Fox News, "NASA eyes stunning 'cloud city' airship concept to explore Venus," 16 Oct. 2018 The other step-change in pickup refinement comes by way of the Ram’s optional four-corner air suspension, an industry first. Dan Neil, WSJ, "A Luxury Truck Showdown: Ram 1500 vs. GMC Sierra," 11 Oct. 2018 There’s a dress code—no sportswear or baseball caps—and a general air of refinement. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Places for Afternoon Tea in London," 3 Mar. 2018 After 1870, Cézanne largely stopped painting portraits for a number of years, a period during which he was mentored by the avuncular Camille Pissarro in refinements of the techniques of open-air Impressionism. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "The Lurchingly Uneven Portraits of Paul Cézanne," 21 Feb. 2011 In 2017, there were more than 14,000 and counting, with new refinements to CRISPR, new techniques for manipulating genes, improvements in precision, and more. Brad Plumer, Vox, "A simple guide to CRISPR, one of the biggest science stories of the decade," 23 July 2018 Dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these French compositions possess the lush romantic qualities associated with the cultural refinement of that period. Mike Giuliano, Howard County Times, "Columbia Orchestra turns to France for 40th season finale," 18 May 2018 Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low said initiatives don’t face the same line-by-line scrutiny and refinement as bills. Sophia Bollag, The Seattle Times, "Special interests use California ballot to flex muscle," 2 July 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

17 Dec 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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Comments on refinement

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


having a pattern of small flowers

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