Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

re·frain 1

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).]

re·frain′er n.
re·frain′ment n.

re·frain 2

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Mutwali asserted during the meeting the necessity that the initiative would reflect via a unified vision the positive effect of the Sudan refusal and refrainment of the crime abroad.
While no boycotting reasons were clearly stated in both instances, it is largely believed that the singer's refrainment could have been pressured by the BDS movement.
Al-Tamimi praised the refrainment of the ICAO and its council from being driven in political disputes, as members of the organization asserted that such discussions should be raised at specialized platforms, citing that the chief of the ICAO pointed that New York is only one hour far from Montreal, a sign to the headquarters of the United Nations.