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

Illustration of rein

Illustration of rein


R rein 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for rein

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of rein in a Sentence

Noun 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 The market gains also shored up retirement funds, helping rein in states’ annual pension payments. Heather Gillers, WSJ, "States Expected Covid-19 to Bring Widespread Tax Shortfalls. It Didn’t Happen.," 10 Mar. 2021 Exxon has announced 14,000 job cuts, delayed huge projects from the Permian Basin to Mozambique and pledged to keep a tight rein on spending through the middle of this decade. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Exxon pledges to safeguard dividend despite first annual loss in at least 40 years," 2 Feb. 2021 Trump, claiming disenchantment, has directed his base to Newsmax and One America News, where the delusion that widespread fraud stole the election is given even freer rein. Washington Post, "Don’t buy into Trump’s disapproval of Fox News. The network is working hard on his election-denial fantasy.," 9 Dec. 2020 But for decades, NASA also kept a tight rein on each project’s planning phase. Clive Thompson, The New Republic, "Monetizing the Final Frontier," 3 Dec. 2020 In this event, the cowboy uses a saddle and holds onto a rein with one hand. Tess Demeyer, Dallas News, "Everything you need to know about the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo," 2 Dec. 2020 The Hong Kong government appeared to welcome the resignations, which will give it much freer rein to pursue its agenda. New York Times, "China Targets Hong Kong’s Lawmakers as It Squelches Dissent," 11 Nov. 2020 How quickly — or to what extent — public funding through CRDA is available is uncertain, given a tighter rein on borrowing through bonds by Gov. Ned Lamont and new, pressing priorities in the pandemic. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Vision for Hartford’s ‘Bushnell Park South’ could get a new look after study examines how pandemic could change city living," 20 Oct. 2020 The modeling released Friday outlined one optimistic scenario -- that if members of the public rein in risky COVID-19 behaviors, cases could drop by nearly 20% in the next three weeks. oregonlive, "If Oregonians don’t change their ways fast, new projections shows COVID-19 skyrocketing," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When the Nasdaq Composite peaked in March 2000, for instance, the Fed had already enacted a series of increases that brought rates to 5.7% in an effort to rein in inflationary pressures. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Wild Market Ride Lifts Everything From Lumber to Stocks to Bitcoin," 25 Apr. 2021 Several members of environmental groups told The Chronicle on Thursday that they had been notified of an imminent announcement by Newsom to rein in fracking. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, "Newsom reportedly planning phase-out of fracking permits in California," 22 Apr. 2021 Already there have been several other moves to rein in big tech. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Can government rein in social media? One Utah leader is going to try," 22 Apr. 2021 Increasingly, though, some European governments are calling for an end to the secrecy in a bid to rein in drug prices. Jessica Davis Plüss, STAT, "Europe tries to lower drug prices with small doses of transparency," 13 Apr. 2021 Voters in midterm elections often take the opportunity to rein in a first-term President if they are seen to be overreaching. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump tightens grip on GOP while Biden bets on expanding federal power," 12 Apr. 2021 Blocking transmission is especially important in attempts to rein in emerging viral variants. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Next Step in Covid-19 Vaccines May Be Through the Nose," 12 Apr. 2021 These changes are fueled by an increase in the size of mass tort actions, coupled with many courts’ reluctance to rein in constitutionally excessive punitive damages awards. Cory L. Andrews, Forbes, "Are Constitutionally Excessive Punitive Damages Headed Back To The Supreme Court? Let’s Hope So.," 8 Apr. 2021 The move is part of a two-phase effort to rein in political protest and opposition in Hong Kong, which is part of China but has had a more liberal political system as a former British colony. Zen Soo And Ken Moritsugu, The Christian Science Monitor, "How Beijing is tightening its grip on Hong Kong’s legislature," 30 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for rein

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rein

Last Updated

18 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rein.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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