refrain

verb
re·​frain | \ ri-ˈfrān How to pronounce refrain (audio) \
refrained; refraining; refrains

Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

refrain

noun

Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

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 : a comment or statement that is often repeated

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Other Words from refrain

Verb

refrainment \ ri-​ˈfrān-​mənt How to pronounce refrainment (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for refrain

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of refrain in a Sentence

Verb I was going to make a joke but I refrained. Noun A common refrain among teachers these days is that the schools need more funding. I didn't know the verses of the song, so I only sang on the refrain.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Beyond occasional tweetstorms — bursts consisting mostly of retweets quoting his defenders on Fox News — Trump had mostly refrained from responding directly to the substance of the hearings. NBC News, "Trump: Impeachment has been 'very hard on my family'," 15 Nov. 2019 So far Israel has refrained from clobbering Hamas and risking a bigger conflict. The Economist, "A kaleidoscope of possibilities The politics surrounding an assassination and its aftermath in Gaza," 14 Nov. 2019 To ensure a place in the postseason every October, the Dodgers have refrained from taking the gambles necessary to win a championship. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers must be bold in acquiring players necessary to win a World Series," 11 Oct. 2019 Unlike other Republicans, Trump has refrained from publicly criticizing Pelosi’s bill. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trump and Pelosi aides talk drug costs despite impeachment," 1 Oct. 2019 The agency is urging people to consider refraining from using any e-cigarette products, especially those containing THC. Laurie Mcginley, The Denver Post, "Most vaping-related lung injuries linked to marijuana products, CDC says," 27 Sep. 2019 The agency is urging people to consider refraining from using any e-cigarette products, especially those containing THC. Author: Lena H. Sun, Laurie Mcginley, Anchorage Daily News, "Most vaping-related lung injuries linked to marijuana products, CDC says," 27 Sep. 2019 The District Attorney’s Office has refrained from commenting in detail on the investigation aside from acknowledging the August search warrant. Thy Vo, The Mercury News, "Concealed guns probe: Records confirm big donor to Santa Clara County sheriff’s campaign was issued rare concealed weapons permit," 19 Sep. 2019 Trump has refrained from overt criticism of the Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "It’s Time for Trump to Troll China," 16 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That the Angels need arms is an all-too-common winter refrain, and so is the reliance on starting pitchers with a history of injury. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Column: GM Billy Eppler has one year to turn Angels into a winner after four losing ones," 7 Sep. 2019 Other founders and investors echo this refrain—not just as a matter of principle, but as an imperative for the future growth and evolution of their own companies. Hilary George-parkin, Glamour, "The Unspoken Hurdle of Getting Funding for Plus-Size Fashion Brands," 28 Aug. 2019 There is a common refrain with many of the Edgewater seniors, who are determined to complete some unfinished business. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, "Tenacious Edgewater linemen help power Eagles’ strong start," 11 Sep. 2019 But questions of money, usually considered crass, had an air of scrappy anti-corporate camaraderie in Prince’s world, and became a kind of comforting refrain. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "The Book of Prince," 2 Sep. 2019 In turn, that could mean less use of raw materials and waste, contributing to GM's refrain of its vision for a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "GM to test airless, puncture-proof tires on Michigan roads," 5 June 2019 Allez Allez Allez' famously derives from the refrain of a chant that was adopted by fans of the Merseyside club during their run to the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev and has since been embraced by clubs up and down the country. SI.com, "Liverpool (Ambitiously) Attempted to Trademark 'Allez Allez Allez' & 'Six Times'," 30 July 2019 The gentle refrain builds, and one voice melts into a choir. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Chicago quintet Twin Peaks explores intimate country-soul on ‘Lookout Low’," 13 Sep. 2019 The refrains throughout the Colts locker room echoed one another. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Andrew Luck's teammates are sad but they're focused on the future. 'It's next man up.'," 26 Aug. 2019

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for refrain

Verb

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

Noun

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

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Statistics for refrain

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for refrain

The first known use of refrain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for refrain

refrain

verb
How to pronounce refrain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

refrain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a phrase or verse that is repeated regularly in a poem or song
: a comment or statement that is often repeated

refrain

verb
re·​frain | \ ri-ˈfrān How to pronounce refrain (audio) \
refrained; refraining

Kids Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

refrain

noun

Kids Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Comments on refrain

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