\ ˈrān How to pronounce rein (audio) \

Definition of rein

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a strap fastened to a bit by which a rider or driver controls an animal usually used in plural
2a : a restraining influence : check kept a tight rein on the proceedings
b : controlling or guiding power usually used in plural the reins of government
3 : opportunity for unhampered activity or use gave full rein to her imagination


reined; reining; reins

Definition of rein (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to control or direct with or as if with reins
2 : to check or stop by or as if by a pull at the reins reined in her horse couldn't rein his impatience

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to submit to the use of reins
2 : to stop or slow up one's horse or oneself by or as if by pulling the reins

Illustration of rein

Illustration of rein


R rein 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for rein

Synonyms: Noun

chair, driver's seat, head, headship, helm

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Examples of rein in a Sentence


He has people working for him, but he has a tight rein on every part of the process. after the president resigned, the vice president stepped in and took the reins of the company

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But Juwan Howard will take the reins of an experienced team that knows how to win games, with Simpson and Teske again offering a staunch defensive backbone. Jeremy Woo,, "Top 25 Reset: How Draft Decisions Changed Our 2019-20 Preseason Rankings," 5 June 2019 In the pilot episode, directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman), Logan is contemplating passing the reins of his company to his son Kendall (Jeremy Strong), a recovering addict who’s itching to prove himself. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Filthy Rich: The Power Plays of Succession," 2 June 2018 Before passing the reins over to her successor, Wes Gordon, the designer took her final bow at New York Fashion Week last night. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Finale at Carolina Herrera Was A Beautiful Tribute To The Designer's Signature Look," 13 Feb. 2018 Banks returns after passing the reins to Rita Ora for one season cycle. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "'America's Next Top Model' returns tonight with Tyra Banks and we are ridiculously excited," 9 Jan. 2018 In 1968, Cassidy passed the reins to Andy Carney, a thirty-three-year-old former bus driver from Ballaghaderreen (current population 1,808); Carney sold the business a few years later, but stayed on as a bartender. David Kortava, The New Yorker, "Guinness Poured by an Irishman at Inwood’s The Liffy II," 9 July 2017 One of his former players, Tim Gruber, took over the reins at Elder, while Nugent helped out with the Panthers’ youth program this year. Adam Baum,, "Lacrosse community uplifts coach Tom Nugent as he battles cancer for the 2nd time," 6 July 2018 Seahawks The Josh Rosen Era begins on Sunday, when a rookie quarterback will take the reins of the worst statistical offense in the NFL. The Seattle Times, "Pick 'Em," 28 Oct. 2018 Between the schedule’s leeway and Izzo at the reins, things should be looking up soon. Dan Greene,, "As We Approach Tournament Time, Should Your Team Be Worried About its March Fate?," 15 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ethics washing refers to the tactics companies employ to avoid substantial oversight, like announcing advisory boards, employing token measures like incognito modes, and even calling for the government to (lightly) rein in the industry. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "More Privacy Still Isn’t Privacy," 4 June 2019 The new clubhouse atmosphere can be seen nightly on the field in the constant unselfish adjustments made by players who have tempered their swings and reined in their egos. Bill Plaschke,, "Dodgers are championship material once the bullpen is bolstered," 3 June 2019 Her visit came as momentum is building in Washington for a national privacy law that could sharply rein in the ability of the largest tech companies to collect and make money from people’s personal data. Marcy Gordon, The Seattle Times, "EU official: New US privacy law won’t copy European regime," 12 Apr. 2019 The participation of Poland’s president and premier in the Warsaw march indicated a desire to rein in the extremists. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Far-Right Groups Join Massive March Marking Polish Independence," 11 Nov. 2018 Members of Congress, in turn, spoke vaguely about instituting government regulations to rein in social media — again, without clarifying what such regulation might look like. Aja Romano, Vox, "How hysteria over Twitter shadow-banning led to a bizarre congressional hearing," 6 Sep. 2018 Both Heard and Genovese said they were drawn to the consolidation cause because of a desire to rein in the state’s high property taxes and exorbitant school administrative costs. Max Cohen,, "Is time up for tiny towns in New Jersey? Some say mergers would save money and lower taxes, but skeptics disagree," 3 July 2018 The Trump administration’s determination to convince Congress to seriously restrict legal immigration is well-known, as is its desire to rein in protections for undocumented immigrants and ramp up deportations. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Administration Ends Protection for Last Big Emergency Migrant Population," 4 May 2018 Whitaker lets Mueller continue, but reins him in Whitaker, too, shied away from calling for Mueller’s firing in his public comments on the matter last year. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.," 7 Nov. 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for rein


Middle English reine, from Anglo-French resne, reine, from Vulgar Latin *retina, from Latin retinēre to restrain — more at retain

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Statistics for rein

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for rein

The first known use of rein was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for rein



English Language Learners Definition of rein

: a strap that is fastened to a device (called a bridle) placed on the head of an animal (such as a horse) and that is used to guide and control the animal
: the ability to limit or control something
: the power to guide or control someone or something


\ ˈrān How to pronounce rein (audio) \

Kids Definition of rein

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a line or strap that is attached at either end of the bit of a bridle and is used to control an animal usually used in pl.
2 : an influence that slows, limits, or holds back The parents kept their child under a tight rein.
3 : controlling or guiding power the reins of government


reined; reining

Kids Definition of rein (Entry 2 of 2)

: to check, control, or stop by or as if by reins He reined in his horse. Rein in your anger.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rein

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rein

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rein

Spanish Central: Translation of rein

Nglish: Translation of rein for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rein for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about rein

Comments on rein

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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