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To hold oneself back; forbear from doing something: refrained from swearing.
[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).]
a. A phrase, verse, or group of verses repeated at intervals throughout a song or poem, especially at the end of each stanza.
b. Music for the refrain of a song.
2. A song or melody.
3. A repeated utterance or theme.
[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, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.