Definitions for refrainrɪˈfreɪn

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word refrain

Princeton's WordNet

  1. refrain, chorus(verb)

    the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers

  2. refrain, forbear(verb)

    resist doing something

    "He refrained from hitting him back"; "she could not forbear weeping"

  3. abstain, refrain, desist(verb)

    choose not to consume

    "I abstain from alcohol"

Webster Dictionary

  1. Refrain(verb)

    to hold back; to restrain; to keep within prescribed bounds; to curb; to govern

  2. Refrain(verb)

    to abstain from

  3. Refrain(verb)

    to keep one's self from action or interference; to hold aloof; to forbear; to abstain

  4. Refrain

    the burden of a song; a phrase or verse which recurs at the end of each of the separate stanzas or divisions of a poetic composition

  5. Origin: [OE. refreinen, OF. refrener, F. refrner, fr. L. refrenare; influenced by OF. refraindre to restrain, moderate, fr. LL. refrangere, for L. refringere to break up, break (see Refract). L. refrenare is fr. pref. re- back + frenum bridle; cf. Skr. dh to hold.]


  1. Refrain

    A refrain from Vulgar Latin refringere, "to repeat", and later from Old French refraindre) is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song. Poetic fixed forms that feature refrains include the villanelle, the virelay, and the sestina. The use of refrains is particularly associated with where the verse-chorus-verse song structure typically places a refrain in almost every song. The refrain or chorus often sharply contrasts the verse melodically, rhythmically, and harmonically, and assumes a higher level of dynamics and activity, often with added instrumentation. Chorus form, or strophic form, is a sectional and/or additive way of structuring a piece of music based on the repetition of one formal section or block played repeatedly. See also verse-chorus form.

Translations for refrain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for refrain »


Find a translation for the refrain definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these refrain definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"refrain." STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <>.

Are we missing a good definition for refrain? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for refrain:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.