\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

Since taking the reins of the organization 2016, Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka has typically valued defenseman at the NHL draft. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes continue 'stockpiling' defense during second day of NHL draft," 23 June 2018 As Vogue reports, Breed, a San Francisco native, now takes the reins of a city that has seen its black population plummet as housing prices have surged over the last several decades. Anne Branigin, The Root, "It’s Official: London Breed 1st Black Woman Elected Mayor of San Francisco," 14 June 2018 UC Davis Health announced Tuesday that respected neurosurgeon, scientist and educator Dr. Griffith Harsh IV is taking the reins of the system's neurological surgery department. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "There's a new chief of UCD Health's neurosurgery department. Hint: his famous wife ran for governor," 12 June 2018 Everything changed starting in the 2008-2009 season when Pep Guardiola took the reins of Barcelona. Jorge Torres,, "Opinion: Farewell, 'Don Andres'," 24 May 2018 Last month the 43-year-old took the reins of Adidas North America from Mark King, 59, who stepped down after a highly successful run that saw Adidas become the hottest brand in the industry. Jeff Manning,, "Adidas vows to maintain momentum as Armstrong takes helm," 19 May 2018 Here’s his boy, taking the reins of the family business. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 That son, Friedrich Karl Flick, took the reins of the family business upon his father’s death in 1972. Bloomberg, Time, "The Nazi Shadow Behind the World's Youngest Billionaires," 7 May 2018 Emery took the reins at the north London side this summer following the departure of Arsene Wenger, an Arsenal legend who spent 22 years at the club., "Unai Emery Makes 'Drastic Changes' to Arsenal Regime and Training Methods," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What could have been a coalition to rein in partisan redistricting became unanimous decisions to put off the matter for another day. The Economist, "Justice Kennedy is retiring. What happens now?," 30 June 2018 His biggest challenge will be reining in the pressure from conservative allies. Joshua Goodman And Christine Armario, Fox News, "Doubts looms over Colombia peace deal with hawk's election," 18 June 2018 On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, NYU professor Scott Galloway calls for people who are concerned about privacy to elect leaders who will rein in the tech giants. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Uber’s flying-car chief is stepping down and winging it," 18 May 2018 There’s a tendency to view Didier Deschamps as an overly conservative coach, one who keeps his immensely talented players reined in too much. Grant Wahl,, "Versatile France Tames Belgium, Grinds Out World Cup Semifinal Win," 10 July 2018 The campaign, which includes direct mail, print ads, digital ads and radio ads, is the first phase in a months-long effort to pressure lawmakers to rein in government spending. Andrew Rafferty, NBC News, "Jeff Flake 2020?," 27 May 2018 For months, investors have urged exploration and production companies to rein in unprofitable spending. Alex Nussbaum And Jessica Summers, Houston Chronicle, "Shale drillers face new test as oil tops $70 a barrel," 7 May 2018 And although Britain’s departure thins the ranks of the budget hawks, those that remain, including the Austrians, Dutch and Nordics, will fight that much harder to rein in spending. The Economist, "The EU’s budget is being dragged into the 21st century," 5 May 2018 Milam is running as a fiscal conservative who wants to rein in spending. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Progressive Hamilton County Republicans target fiscal conservatives on County Council in primary," 30 Apr. 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

12 Oct 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 express warning or disapproval

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