\ 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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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

Then his successor, Nicolas Maduro, took the reins. Fox News, "Lynne Patton responds to Omarosa audio tape," 15 Aug. 2018 The milestone coincides with a transition of power, as Eric and Beatrice’s daughter Saskia, 31—who appears a few minutes later—begins to take the reins from her 77-year-old father. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "A New Era Begins at Château Lafite as Baron de Rothschild Hands Leadership Over to His Daughter," 13 Aug. 2018 Ancelotti has recently taken over the reins at Stadio San Paolo following the departure of Maurizio Sarri, who is set to become Chelsea's new manager this week., "Napoli Reportedly Interested in Signing Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez Following Jorginho Departure," 13 July 2018 The alliance had agreed that Mahathir would be prime minister and then hand over the reins to Anwar. Annabelle Liang, Fox News, "Malaysia's Anwar confident PM handover will go as planned," 15 Sep. 2018 Indra Nooyi is stepping down as chief executive officer of food and beverage giant PepsiCo Inc., handing the reins to a top lieutenant in a transition that will draw attention to the dearth of prominent female CEOs in corporate America. Craig Giammona, The Seattle Times, "Pepsi’s first female CEO to end 12-year run, replaced by insider," 6 Aug. 2018 And if South Carolina’s offense is able to build on its 26-19 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl, in which McClendon was handed the reins of the offense, Kentucky might be in trouble. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How Kentucky football can win (or lose) against South Carolina," 6 July 2018 Now David Deveau, the artistic director who oversaw that period of dramatic growth, has handed over the reins to Barry Shiffman, whose first summer of programming seems to be quickening the festival’s pulse. Jeremy Eichler,, "At Rockport, ushering in a new chapter with Tchaikovsky, Golijov, and high spirits," 17 June 2018 As a first-year head coach in 2017, Riley was able to take comfort in handing the reins to a seasoned winner with extensive experience running his offense. Chris Johnson,, "Kyler Murray's Baseball and Football Careers Converge for an Intriguing Summer at Oklahoma," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When companies—unbeknownst to city officials—introduced dockless bikes and scooters to streets, local officials have often responded with bans to rein in the activities of users. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The weirdest places we found scooters in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Barr clearly seems inclined to rein in the obstruction aspect of the investigation, and to disapprove any attempt to subpoena Trump to answer questions on the topic. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Trump’s attorney general nominee wrote a memo expressing deep suspicion of the Mueller probe," 20 Dec. 2018 Brazil, which has struggled to rein in deforestation, in the fall elected a leader in Jair Bolsonaro who has pledged to roll back protections for the Amazon. Chris Mooney, The Seattle Times, "‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018.," 5 Dec. 2018 The realization may help push leaders to commit to greater action to rein in climate change ahead of a year-end deadline that countries have set themselves to flesh out the 2015 Paris climate accord, Meyer said. Fox News, "Small islands use big platform to warn of climate change," 27 Sep. 2018 Moms and dads need to rein in kids' cell phone usage, double down on books, and most importantly work with educators as a team. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "9 Things All School Teachers Wish Parents Knew," 15 Aug. 2018 Whitaker has long been a public critic of Mueller, and expressed how Sessions’s successor should rein in the special counsel. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: The Whitaker saga continues," 20 Nov. 2018 While the bank reins in the stimulus, much of the recent media reports on the bank have focused not on monetary policy, but on whom European leaders will choose to succeed Draghi after his term expires in October 2019. David Mchugh, Fox News, "European Central Bank to take next step in tapering stimulus," 13 Sep. 2018 Democrats would argue that a Democratic Congress is needed to rein in a rogue President, and swing-district Republicans would be hard-pressed to defend him. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Make Every Democrat’s Day," 1 Aug. 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

21 Dec 2018

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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 \

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).


to gather or build up little by little

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