re·​fine·​ment | \ ri-ˈfīn-mənt How to pronounce refinement (audio) \

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

Scouts and Sox executives want to see more refinement in receiving, pitch-framing and game-calling. Teddy Greenstein,, "‘Dad, I’m going to the bigs’: How Zack Collins’ dream of a big-league call-up came true on Father’s Day," 18 June 2019 The council sent a draft of new regulations back to the commission for further refinements in May, suggesting that plaques be eliminated on all donations. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Newport council to review policy on naming Newport Beach benches and other memorial fixtures," 6 Sep. 2019 For some installations, Marclay then made further refinements. Los Angeles Times, "How Christian Marclay is turning Snapchat messages into sound art," 30 Aug. 2019 These media evolve more quickly and with more refinement. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Silver Sailing Cups Recall Gilded Age Glamour and Sexuality," 29 June 2019 Bellavia’s bluster on the battlefield contrasts with his refinement off it. Josiah Bates, Time, "This Medal of Honor Recipient Cleared a House of Iraqi Insurgents Single-Handed. TIME Was There," 24 June 2019 Her background as the Savannah College of Art and Design’s director of creative initiatives is clearly visible in her signature tablescapes and environmental installations, which deftly mix a raucous wonderland-like whimsy with old-world refinement. Samantha Rees, Vogue, "The Best Wedding Planners in the U.S., Canada and Overseas," 17 May 2018 Most of its recent products—which are generally still well-designed, high-quality devices (ignoring its laptops)—have just been refinements on existing device lines. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "When is Apple going to release something more than a slightly nicer iPhone?," 21 Aug. 2019 The Galaxy Watch Active2 has also been put through the design refinement ringer. Wired, "Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active2 Is Its Latest Swipe at Apple," 5 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for refinement

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce refinement (audio) \

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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