refrain

verb
re·​frain | \ ri-ˈfrān How to pronounce refrain (audio) \
refrained; refraining; refrains

Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to keep oneself from doing, feeling, or indulging in something and especially from following a passing impulse refrained from having dessert

refrain

noun

Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song : chorus also : the musical setting of a refrain
2 : a comment or statement that is often repeated

Other Words from refrain

Verb

refrainment \ ri-​ˈfrān-​mənt How to pronounce refrain (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for refrain

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of refrain in a Sentence

Verb I was going to make a joke but I refrained. Noun A common refrain among teachers these days is that the schools need more funding. I didn't know the verses of the song, so I only sang on the refrain.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It’s one thing to refrain from running a story on the lawsuit, another to not even inquire about it. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 The agency has issued a plea to people to refrain from spreading rumors and speculative reports. CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 Gigi Hadid posted a note on Monday (July 5) asking the paparazzi, press and fan accounts to refrain from posting pictures of her daughter with Zayn Malik. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 6 July 2021 This week, as many countries began to impose new travel rules in response to Omicron, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, asked them to refrain from the most restrictive versions. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2021 Those experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to refrain from attending. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 26 Oct. 2021 Residents were also asked to refrain from participating in recreational activities on the coastline, such as swimming, surfing, biking, walking, exercising and gathering. Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2021 The World Health Organization has asked world leaders to refrain from rolling out boosters at least until the end of the year so more of the world can be vaccinated. BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2021 Officials asked anyone with pertinent tips to refrain from sharing them on social media and to instead call the sheriff’s office directly at 435-259-8115. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That has been a refrain from mainstream politicians of all stripes ever since the national drive began in earnest in early 2021. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2021 The argument echoes the demands that smokers quit cigarettes for six months before receiving lung transplants or that addicts refrain from alcohol and drugs before receiving new livers. Jonel Aleccia, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 Caretakers have suggested the family refrain from discussing the traumatic event because of Garner’s dementia and sensory aphasia, Schielke said. Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2021 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 refrain from traveling over the Labor Day weekend. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Sep. 2021 Conversations about the protests, the crash, the police all lead Hylton into a common refrain, a crescendo that builds to loud outbursts that inevitably create a familiar chorus highlighted by her Jamaican cadence. Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2021 The refrain meant that a fortune amassed by one generation will be frittered away by the third. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, 15 Dec. 2021 Those sunrises of Shibuya’s, exquisite gradations of color, some as pale as a distant memory, others as strong as an insistent, unshakeable refrain, are painted across the front pages of the New York Times. Mark Holgate, Vogue, 30 Nov. 2021 In the second autumn of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say the only certainty is the refrain of prevention: hand-washing, staying home when sick, masking and getting vaccinated against the seasonal influenza virus. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, 2 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refrain.' 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 refrain

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for refrain

Verb

Middle English refreynen, from Anglo-French refreiner, refreindre, from Latin refrenare, from re- + frenum bridle — more at frenum

Noun

Middle English refreyn, from Middle French refrain, alteration of Old French refrait melody, response, from past participle of refraindre to break up, moderate, from Vulgar Latin *refrangere, alteration of Latin refringere — more at refract

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Time Traveler for refrain

Time Traveler

The first known use of refrain was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near refrain

refractory ware

refrain

refraination

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Statistics for refrain

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Refrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refrain. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for refrain

refrain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do

refrain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a phrase or verse that is repeated regularly in a poem or song : chorus
: a comment or statement that is often repeated

refrain

verb
re·​frain | \ ri-ˈfrān How to pronounce refrain (audio) \
refrained; refraining

Kids Definition of refrain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to keep from giving in to a desire or impulse I wanted to laugh but refrained.

refrain

noun

Kids Definition of refrain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a phrase or verse repeated regularly in a poem or song

More from Merriam-Webster on refrain

Nglish: Translation of refrain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refrain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about refrain

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