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

  • The kidneys, loins, or lower back.
  • 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

  • The kidneys; also, the region of the kidneys; the loins.
  • 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.


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

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rēnēs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French reins, see rein in French.


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

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • The kidneys. No really.

    December 2, 2011