\ 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

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

Unwilling to give up, General Manager KJ Granberg and her remarkable team of leaders grabbed the reins of the company, worked their magic (and industry knowledge), and returned it to profitability almost immediately. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Minneapolis restaurant Hell’s Kitchen is selling — to its employees," 15 Sep. 2019 Since the 67-year-old Jamie has been at the reins, his daughter has been doing better professionally and personally, by most accounts. Los Angeles Times, "Britney Spears’ dad, Jamie Spears, is out as her conservator — at least for now," 10 Sep. 2019 Groomed as a redshirt freshman to take the reins, Brown has been tested in two years under center. Julian Benbow,, "BC is about to kick off its season — here’s what to look for," 30 Aug. 2019 Ready or not, Rosen will grab the reins of the Cardinals’ meager offensive machine on Sunday. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent: The Arizona Cardinals," 24 Sep. 2018 But failing to grab the reins could have an even worse impact in the long run. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Big Social Sites Are Cracking Down on Controversial Content. What Does that Mean for Society — And for Profits?," 7 Apr. 2018 The government is loosening its reins after companies have been on a decade-long borrowing spree, fueled in part by interest rates that have been close to zero., "Trump: 'I Don't Think You're Going to Have a Trade War'," 1 Mar. 2018 Saturday, Mike Fiers, the man who took up the reins as Oakland’s most reliable starter, left with nerve irritation in his right arm, but the A’s went on to down Texas 8-6. Susan Slusser,, "Fiers exits with an injury, but A’s use four homers to top Texas," 14 Sep. 2019 Collateral loss happens when new coaches and/or executives take over the reins of a struggling organization. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Dolphins’ 2017 second-round pick trying to avoid being lost in shuffle | Commentary," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The single greatest impediment to reining in gun violence in America isn’t the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump, or even the Supreme Court. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "America’s Most Powerful Gun Supporter," 6 Aug. 2019 If the Fed will come to the rescue of any economic weakness with monetary stimulus, why go through the difficult political process of reining in spending on domestic and military programs? Robert Pozen, Fortune, "Why the Fed Lowering Interest Rates Would Be a Mistake," 29 July 2019 The case was one of several government crackdowns aimed at reining in the group. Washington Post, "Polygamous town contractor must pay $1M to child workers," 3 July 2019 Done well, LEDs could save the planet, in the sense of reining in light pollution. Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic, "Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price," 3 Apr. 2019 Just as Democrats dreamed about reining in Trump by taking control of the House this fall, the president is poised to again wield one of the most powerful levers available to him. Jonathan Tamari,, "With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, Trump's lasting power is amplified," 27 June 2018 But the tests highlight the lack of meaningful progress on reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile program despite the bromance that’s blossomed between Trump and Kim since their first meeting in Singapore in June 2018. Charlie Campbell / Shanghai, Time, "North Korea’s Latest Missile Tests Underscore the Need for Focused Negotiations, Not Photo-Ops," 26 July 2019 Instead of urging a ban, the IUCN report calls for reining in deforestation and discouraging the use of unsustainable palm oil. Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Science | AAAS, "Courting controversy, scientists team with industry to tackle one of the world’s most destructive crops," 11 July 2019 If Mr Salah has played even a small part in reining in Liverpool fans’ prejudice since then, that is an achievement as remarkable as leading the club to European glory. The Economist, "Mo Salah’s goals help to tackle Islamophobia in Liverpool," 5 June 2019

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 2019

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 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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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