\ ˈrān \

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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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

Smith belongs to the same generation as pianist Robert Glasper, and he traffics in similar territory, but the former keeps a much tighter rein on his band, dispensing endless vamps and incorporating solos that go against the music’s smooth veneer. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Jazz drummer Nate Smith comes into his own as a bandleader with a sleek strain of R&B and funk that showcases his improvisational elasticity," 12 July 2018 Alsop kept a tight rein on the score and drew virtuosic playing from the BSO. Tim Smith,, "BSO New Music Festival filled with eclectic works, electric performances," 26 June 2018 Bloomgren has emphasized the importance of the fullback position to his offensive scheme since taking the reins on South Main. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Rice football adds three transfers," 25 June 2018 Despite Canada’s 20-year history of allowing hemp farming, the nation keeps a tight rein on the plant closely linked to pot, according to the Feb. 3 issue of Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Grow hemp? It's no laughing matter for Michigan farmers," 4 June 2018 Even Apple, yet to launch its first scripted series, has inked a deal that sources say is in the $10 million range for Bates Motel alum Kerry Ehrin to take the reins on its Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston morning-news drama. Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "TV’s Arms Race for Talent Is Blowing Up Traditional Studio Deals," 24 May 2018 Evans explains about the difference of styling Renee compared to Schumer, who really let Evans take the reins on these looks. Colleen Kratofil,, "Amy Schumer’s Stylist on Her I Feel Pretty Wardrobe: Amy Wanted to Be 'Comfortable and Effortless'," 20 Apr. 2018 Rintoul keeps a taut rein on the growing tension as a pair of young men — one German, one English — try to change the course of history. Jenni Laidman,, "Audiobooks: Narration keeps tension taut in 'Munich' by Robert Harris, plus more reviews," 10 Apr. 2018 Timberlake may have yanked back the reins on the interminable song lengths of The 20/20 Experience, but many of these tracks still manage to overstay their welcome by a minute or two. Sarah Weldon, Cosmopolitan, "The 10 Meanest Things Critics Have Said About Justin Timberlake's New Album, Man of the Woods," 2 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But in the same trial, baloxavir marboxil proved better than Tamiflu at reining in viral shedding from infected peoples’ noses and throats. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "This novel, one-and-done flu drug could be available soon in the US," 27 June 2018 The case is the first test of a new law aimed at reining in skyrocketing drug costs in New York’s Medicaid program. Katie Thomas, New York Times, "A Drug Costs $272,000 a Year. Not So Fast, Says New York State.," 24 June 2018 Support for reining in immigration is at its lowest level in more than half a century: Just 29 percent of Americans believe it should be decreased, the smallest share recorded by Gallup since at least 1965. Niraj Chokshi,, "75 percent of Americans say immigration is good for country, poll finds," 23 June 2018 Since taking control of the CFPB late last year, Mulvaney has launched a broad review of the bureau's operations and called for reining in its enforcement powers and slashing its budget. Renae Merle,, "Federal judge rules that consumer protection bureau is unconstitutional," 21 June 2018 Further complicating matters is a stubbornly high 13% unemployment rate and an increasing possibility that voters in October will elect a government averse to reining in government spending to plug the country’s gaping budget shortfall. Paulo Trevisani, WSJ, "Brazil Central Bank Leaves Selic Rate Unchanged at 6.5%," 20 June 2018 Rosenstein oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, so firing him could set the stage for reining in or firing Mueller. Arit John,, "House Republicans Threaten Floor Action Over FBI, DOJ Subpoenas," 17 June 2018 And the city of Boston just this week passed new regulations aimed at reining in short-term rentals by investors. Lori Weisberg,, "Mayor proposes Airbnb regs allowing up to two rentals per host, with no limits in Mission Beach," 13 June 2018 Some conservatives say the bill does not go far enough in reining in the SNAP program. Deirdre Shesgreen And Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "House GOP struggles to get votes for farm bill amid fights over food stamps, immigration," 17 May 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

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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