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

burden, chorus

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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

The prosecutor is well aware if the grand jury has doubts about the case; if there are indications that the grand jury is not inclined to vote for charges, the prosecutor simply refrains from presenting an indictment. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Why It’s Unlikely the McCabe Grand Jury Voted against Indictment," 14 Sep. 2019 Panera Bread: The bakery chain requested customers refrain from open carry in its stores in 2014 after having several discussions with advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "These stores, restaurants are asking customers not to openly carry guns," 11 Sep. 2019 Please refrain from donating encyclopedias, textbooks and any books that have a musty smell or may have been tarnished from mildew. courant.com, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 11 Sep. 2019 Lithuania, once part of the USSR and ruled from Moscow, refuses to purchase the electricity and wants its neighbors to refrain too. Time, "This Lithuanian City Played Host to Filming For HBO's 'Chernobyl.' It's Now Preparing for Its Own Nuclear Radiation Leak," 4 Sep. 2019 Though individual practices differ widely, adhering Hindus generally refrain from consuming meat during the month. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "The bigotry of one Indian customer has united arch-rivals Zomato and Uber Eats," 1 Aug. 2019 Certain savvy shoppers possess the willpower to refrain from restocking everyday essentials or pulling the trigger on bigger ticket home buys until the most magical [sale] season of all arrives: Amazon Prime Day. Elizabeth Buxton, refinery29.com, "The Savviest Home & Kitchen Steals To Shop On Prime Day," 15 July 2019 Meanwhile, the city prosecutor filed a legal injunction compelling any for-profit party organizers to refrain from doing so inside city limits. Sara Cardine, latimes.com, "La Cañada officials assure plans for July 6 for-profit pool party have been popped," 3 July 2019 The judge also ordered Reader and witnesses to refrain from discussing the case on social media. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Pike County sheriff Charles Reader pleads not guilty in 16-count criminal case," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The visas aren’t taking jobs away from Americans, Joseph said, a common refrain from proponents of limiting them. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Denver business owner “self-deporting” to Australia as Trump administration takes harder line on employment visas," 12 Aug. 2019 The myth that President Trump is a kloset Klansman is the Left’s relentless refrain. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Don’t Ignore Trump Unifying, Anti-Racist Rhetoric," 9 Aug. 2019 Yet events are overtaking us, the daily refrain with Donald Trump in the White House. oregonlive.com, "Extending Oregon’s lead in the battle over abortion rights: Steve Duin," 14 June 2019 To plead the fifth so often that the pleading itself came to double as a miasmic refrain. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "‘Epstein Is Gone, but Justice Must Still Be Served’," 10 Aug. 2019 The relatively limited gaming selection at big box stores, compared to GameStop, was a common refrain. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Why the gaming world will be worse once GameStop is gone," 2 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

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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