from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To reduce to a pure state; purify.
- transitive v. To remove by purifying.
- transitive v. To free from coarse, unsuitable, or immoral characteristics: refined his manners; refined her speaking style.
- intransitive v. To become free of impurities.
- intransitive v. To acquire polish or elegance.
- intransitive v. To use precise distinctions and subtlety in thought or speech.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; to free from impurities; to free from dross or alloy; to separate from extraneous matter; to purify; as, to refine gold or silver; to refine iron; to refine wine or sugar.
- v. To purify from what is gross, coarse, vulgar, inelegant, low, and the like; to make elegant or excellent; to polish; as, to refine the manners, the language, the style, the taste, the intellect, or the moral feelings.
- v. To become pure; to be cleared of feculent matter.
- v. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or excellence.
- v. To affect nicety or subtlety in thought or language.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; to free from impurities; to free from dross or alloy; to separate from extraneous matter; to purify; to defecate
- transitive v. To purify from what is gross, coarse, vulgar, inelegant, low, and the like; to make elegant or exellent; to polish.
- intransitive v. To become pure; to be cleared of feculent matter.
- intransitive v. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or excellence.
- intransitive v. To affect nicety or subtilty in thought or language.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To bring or reduce to a pure state; free from impurities; free from sediment; defecate; clarify; fine: as, to refine liquor, sugar, or petroleum.
- In metallurgy, to bring into a condition of purity as complete as the nature of the ore treated will allow.
- To purify from what is gross, coarse, debasing, low, vulgar, inelegant, rude, clownish, and the like; make elegant; raise or educate, as the taste; give culture to; polish: as, to refine the manners, taste, language, style, intellect, or moral feelings.
- To become pure; be cleared of feculent matter.
- To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or in anything that constitutes excellence.
- To exhibit nicety or subtlety in thought or language, especially excessive nicety.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. treat or prepare so as to put in a usable condition
- v. make more complex, intricate, or richer
- v. improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
- v. reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; separate from extraneous matter or cleanse from impurities
- v. make more precise or increase the discriminatory powers of
- v. attenuate or reduce in vigor, strength, or validity by polishing or purifying
Three days ago I would have been certain that people in the media knew what the word refine means.
I mean look at how they feigned ignorance about Obama's use of the word refine to somehow come out with the meaning that he was switching his position, when even the most cursory understanding of the word means to be more precise.
In fact, the dictionary makes this characterization of the word refine:
Apple continues to refine App Store … - … and we use the word refine very loosely.
Should Obama have used anything close to "refine" - anything that suggests wavering?
Ooooo, geo-tagging, a scrumptious calendar (already mocked up, but needs refining), more Ajax (yay!), a personalized saved search page, fun and easy ways to share and add favourites and a really great way to 'drill down' (that's what I call it, but it's more like 'refine' - needs refinement) your results.
They keep trying to "refine"--and they sound less and less intelligent with every attempt at refinement--their message hoping that it will end all their problems among Arabs/Muslims.
But again, Obama did use that word refine and held a second press conference.
But, again, Obama did use that word refine and held this second press conference.
In the period in which I knew him, Kurtz worked hard to simplify his method, to "refine" it.