from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A long narrow leather strap attached to each end of the bit of a bridle and used by a rider or driver to control a horse or other animal. Often used in the plural.
- n. A means of restraint, check, or guidance.
- n. A means or an instrument by which power is exercised. Often used in the plural: the reins of government.
- transitive v. To check or hold back by or as if by the use of reins. Often with in, back, or up.
- transitive v. To restrain or control.
- intransitive v. To control a horse, for example, with reins.
- idiom draw in the reins To slow down or stop by or as if by pressure on the reins.
- idiom free To release from restraints; allow to go unchecked: gave rein to her emotions.
- idiom tight rein Close control: kept expenses on a tight rein.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A strap or rope attached to the bridle or bit, used to control a horse, animal or young child.
- v. To direct or stop a horse by using reins.
- v. this sense?) (usually "rein in") To stop or restrain a horse. Also used figuratively
- n. A kidney.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The strap of a bridle, fastened to the curb or snaffle on each side, by which the rider or driver governs the horse.
- n. Hence, an instrument or means of curbing, restraining, or governing; government; restraint.
- transitive v. To govern or direct with the reins.
- transitive v. To restrain; to control; to check.
- intransitive v. To be guided by reins.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The strap of a bridle, fastened to the curb or snaffle on each side, by which the rider or driver restrains and guides the animal driven; any thong or cord used for the same purpose. See cut under harness.
- n. A rope of twisted and greased rawhide.
- n. plural The handles of blacksmiths' tongs, on which the ring or coupler slides.
- n. Figuratively, any means of curbing, restraining, or governing; government; restraint.
- To govern, guide, or restrain by reins or a bridle.
- To restrain; control.
- To carry stiffly, as a horse does its head or neck under a bearing-rein.
- To obey the reins.
- n. An obsolete singular of reins.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. one of a pair of long straps (usually connected to the bit or the headpiece) used to control a horse
- v. control and direct with or as if by reins
- n. any means of control
- v. keep in check
- v. stop or check by or as if by a pull at the reins
- v. stop or slow up one's horse or oneself by or as if by pulling the reins
Middle English, from Old French resne, reine, from Vulgar Latin *retina, from Latin retinēre, to retain; see retain.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman reyne, from Old French resne (Modern French rêne), from Vulgar Latin *retina, from Classical Latin retineō ("to retain"), from re- + teneō. (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman reines, Middle French reins, and their source, Latin rēnēs. (Wiktionary)