Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. The kidneys, loins, or lower back.
  • n.pl. The seat of the affections and passions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The kidneys.
  • n. The lower part of the back.
  • n. Plural form of rein.
  • v. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of rein.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. The kidneys; also, the region of the kidneys; the loins.
  • n.pl. The inward impulses; the affections and passions; -- so called because formerly supposed to have their seat in the part of the body where the kidneys are.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The kidneys or renes.
  • Hence The region of the kidneys; the loins, or lower parts of the back on each side.
  • The seat of the affections and passions, formerly supposed to be situated in that part of the body; hence, also, the emotions and affections themselves.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rēnēs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French reins, see rein in French. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Evaluating advice or criticism based on what the advisor would produce if he were at the reins is a very sketchy business practice.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » Comic Reviews: Atomic Robo 1-5

  • Some boomers have inherited the reins is all, and some of us will inherit the reins from them.

    Matthew Yglesias » Age and the War

  • This argument he insists upon (v. 13-16): Thou hast possessed my reins; thou art Master of my most secret thoughts and intentions, and the innermost recesses of my soul; thou not only knowest, but governest, them, as we do that which we have possession of; and the possession thou hast of my reins is a rightful possession, for thou coveredst me in my mother's womb, that is, thou madest me (Job x. 11), thou madest me in secret.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • I hope and pray we get together and take the reins from the greedy, selfish CEO types that have gotten us to this inglorius point.

    Schneider: The generation gap persists

  • The purpose is to persuade China, which currently has a $2T reserve in foreign currencies in the IMF, to take the reins from the United States in exchange for an expanded role in the IMF.

    duh pookie

  • Evidently, they've moved offices, physical syptom of a new group taking over the reins from the previous directors.

    Breakfast in Bed

  • A new era begins in Baton Rouge as former Louisiana-Monroe head coach Smoke Laval takes the reins from the legendary coach Skip Bertman.

    USATODAY.com - Stanford tops 2002 college preview

  • The moon was still high, though pale, when the sun rose, like a youthful monarch impatient to take the reins from the hands of a mild and dying queen.

    Life in Mexico, During a Residence of Two Years in That Country

  • Conscience now suddenly took the reins from the hands of imagination, and a mist was cleared away that hitherto, obscuring every duty by despondence, had hidden from her own perceptions the faulty basis of her desire.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • Finding a successor who could quickly be confirmed and easily pick up the reins will be a problem for the president, more so because no one comes easily to mind with Gates's national security experience and stature.

    A successor to Gates is a quandary for Obama

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Comments

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  • The kidneys. No really.

    December 2, 2011