American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To hold oneself back; forbear: refrained from swearing.
- v. Archaic To restrain or hold back; curb.
- n. A phrase, verse, or group of verses repeated at intervals throughout a song or poem, especially at the end of each stanza.
- n. Music for the refrain of a poem.
- n. A song or melody.
- n. A repeated utterance or theme.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To hold baek; restrain; curb; keep from action.
- To forbear; abstain from; quit.
- To forbear; abstain; keep one's self from action or interference.
- n. A burden or chorus recurring at regular intervals in the course of a song or ballad, usually at the end of each stanza.
- n. The musical phrase or figure to which the burden of a song is set. It has the same relation to the main part of the tune that the burden has to the main text of the song.
- n. An after-taste or -odor; that impression which lingers on the sense: as, the refrain of a Cologne water, of a perfume, of a wine.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To hold back; to restrain; to keep within prescribed bounds; to curb; to govern.
- v. obsolete To abstain from.
- v. To keep one's self from action or interference; to hold aloof; to forbear; to abstain.
- n. The burden of a song; a phrase or verse which recurs at the end of each of the separate stanzas or divisions of a poetic composition.
- n. the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers
- v. resist doing something
- v. choose not to consume
- From French refrain, from the Old French verb refraindre ("to break off, repeat"), from Latin re- ("back, again") + frangō ("break"); compare Occitan refranhs ("a refrain"), refranher ("to repeat"). See refract and the verb refrain. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English refreinen, from Old French refrener, to restrain, from Latin refrēnāre : re-, re- + frēnāre, to restrain (from frēnum, bridle, from frendere, to grind; see ghrendh- in Indo-European roots).Middle English refrein, from Old French refrain, alteration of refrait, past participle of refraindre, to break off, repeat, from Vulgar Latin *refrangere, to break off, alteration of Latin refringere; see refract. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It takes a certain sort of film fan to like a Western," said Mr. Cenac, taking a break after the late-evening show, which also featured drinking games (one gulp after anyone gets shot) and a sing-along (the title refrain of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" after each wanted poster is glimpsed).”
“There's nothing quite so memorable on the nine tracks of "Summer of Hate," unless you count the title refrain of "I Wanna Kill," which drips with too much smugness to feel like a threat.”
“During hit song "Oh Mandy," Krill's voice warbled the title refrain to aching effect and reminded listeners why it became so infectious.”
“The anthem's refrain translates as: "Grab your weapons, citizens!”
“This is a constant refrain from the sheriff – anyone who seeks to impose any limit on his power is therefore evil and conspiring to thwart his will.”
“Suddenly, and as it were without warning, we are confronted by a fierce and warlike nation, for whom it is a paramount moral obligation to refrain from the participatory heathen cults by which they were surrounded on all sides; for whom moreover precisely that moral obligation is conceived as the very foundation of the race, the very marrow of its being.”
“The “start over” refrain is obnoxious and Dems should be putting out ads with this refrain for the upcoming legislation and elections.”
“And when you prove them, refrain from the icky racial implications you dove right into here.”
“But I am tired and unable to refrain from the snarking here, because this was just sloppy and pathetic.”
“The code he learns in the familiar survival refrain is “to obey the strong and to oppress the weak.””
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