1

refrain

play
verb re·frain \ri-ˈfrān\

Definition of refrain

  1. transitive verb
  2. archaic :  curb, restrain

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to keep oneself from doing, feeling, or indulging in something and especially from following a passing impulse refrained from having dessert

refrainment

play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of refrain in a Sentence

  1. I was going to make a joke but I refrained.

Origin and Etymology of refrain

Middle English refreynen, from Anglo-French refreiner, refreindre, from Latin refrenare, from re- + frenum bridle — more at frenum


First Known Use: 14th century


2

refrain

noun re·frain

Definition of refrain

  1. 1 :  a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song :  chorus; also :  the musical setting of a refrain

  2. 2 :  a comment or statement that is often repeated

Examples of refrain in a Sentence

  1. A common refrain among teachers these days is that the schools need more funding.

  2. I didn't know the verses of the song, so I only sang on the refrain.

Origin and Etymology of refrain

Middle English refreyn, from Middle French refrain, alteration of Old French refrait melody, response, from past participle of refraindre to break up, moderate, from Vulgar Latin *refrangere, alteration of Latin refringere — more at refract


First Known Use: 14th century


REFRAIN Defined for English Language Learners

refrain

play
verb

Definition of refrain for English Language Learners

  • : to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do

refrain

noun

Definition of refrain for English Language Learners

  • : a phrase or verse that is repeated regularly in a poem or song

  • : a comment or statement that is often repeated


REFRAIN Defined for Kids

1

refrain

play
verb re·frain \ri-ˈfrān\

Definition of refrain for Students

refrained

;

refraining

  1. :  to keep from giving in to a desire or impulse I wanted to laugh but refrained.


2

refrain

play
noun re·frain

Definition of refrain for Students

  1. :  a phrase or verse repeated regularly in a poem or song



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a lively discussion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!