from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- intransitive v. To hold oneself back; forbear: refrained from swearing.
- transitive v. Archaic To restrain or hold back; curb.
- n. A phrase, verse, or group of verses repeated at intervals throughout a song or poem, especially at the end of each stanza.
- n. Music for the refrain of a poem.
- n. A song or melody.
- n. A repeated utterance or theme.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The chorus or burden of a song repeated at the end of each verse or stanza.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To hold back; to restrain; to keep within prescribed bounds; to curb; to govern.
- transitive v. To abstain from.
- intransitive v. To keep one's self from action or interference; to hold aloof; to forbear; to abstain.
- n. 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.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To hold baek; restrain; curb; keep from action.
- To forbear; abstain from; quit.
- To forbear; abstain; keep one's self from action or interference.
- n. A burden or chorus recurring at regular intervals in the course of a song or ballad, usually at the end of each stanza.
- n. The musical phrase or figure to which the burden of a song is set. It has the same relation to the main part of the tune that the burden has to the main text of the song.
- n. An after-taste or -odor; that impression which lingers on the sense: as, the refrain of a Cologne water, of a perfume, of a wine.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers
- v. resist doing something
- v. choose not to consume
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).
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, Fourth Edition)
From a combination of Anglo-Norman refraindre, Middle French refreindre (from Latin refrangere), and Anglo-Norman refrener, Middle French refrener (from Latin refrenare). (Wiktionary)
From French refrain, from the Old French verb refraindre ("to break off, repeat"), from Latin re- ("back, again") + frangō ("break"); compare Occitan refranhs ("a refrain"), refranher ("to repeat"). See refract and the verb refrain. (Wiktionary)