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How to pronounce refrain (audio)
The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook

Dictionary definition of refrain

To avoid doing something, often because of a strong desire to resist a temptation or a certain behavior.
"I had to refrain from eating the entire cake to save some for my family."

Detailed meaning of refrain

When someone refrains from something, they consciously choose to hold back or restrain themselves from taking action. This can apply to a wide range of situations, from refraining from eating unhealthy food to refraining from making negative comments about others. The verb "refrain" can also be used to describe someone who chooses not to do something, even if they have the opportunity to do so. Overall, the term "refrain" implies a sense of self-control and discipline, as well as a conscious decision to avoid certain behaviors.

Example sentences containing refrain

1. Please refrain from using your phone during the meeting.
2. He couldn't refrain from laughing at the funny joke.
3. The doctor advised her to refrain from eating certain foods due to her allergies.
4. It's important to refrain from making assumptions before gathering all the facts.
5. She had to refrain from commenting on the controversial topic.
6. The teacher reminded the students to refrain from talking while others were presenting.

History and etymology of refrain

The verb 'refrain' finds its etymological roots in the Old French word 'refrener,' which came from the Latin 'refrenare.' 'Refrenare' is a combination of 're-' meaning 'back' or 'again' and 'frenum' meaning 'bridle' or 'restraint.' In its original sense, 'refrain' was associated with the act of restraining or holding back, much like a bridle controls a horse. Over time, this notion of restraint evolved, and the word 'refrain' came to mean avoiding or abstaining from doing something, often due to a strong desire to resist a temptation or certain behavior. The etymology of 'refrain' highlights its historical connection to the idea of restraining one's impulses or actions, making it an appropriate term for describing the act of consciously resisting a particular action or temptation.

Quiz: Find the meaning of refrain

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Further usage examples of refrain

1. The sign on the wall clearly stated, "Please refrain from smoking."
2. He struggled to refrain from reaching for another slice of cake.
3. The coach instructed the players to refrain from fouling during the game.
4. They decided to refrain from making any major decisions until they had more information.
5. The company implemented a policy that employees must refrain from using personal devices during work hours.
6. She made a conscious effort to refrain from interrupting others during conversations.
7. The parents asked their children to refrain from using inappropriate language.
8. The politician chose to refrain from commenting on the recent scandal.
9. He had to refrain from reacting angrily to the provocation.
10. The doctor recommended that she refrain from strenuous exercise until her injury healed.
11. The guidelines advised participants to refrain from sharing personal information during the workshop.
12. The company encouraged its employees to refrain from gossiping about colleagues.
13. The host politely asked the guests to refrain from bringing outside food and drinks to the party.
14. In order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere, the organization requested attendees to refrain from disruptive behavior.

abstain, partake, indulge, engage

TOEFL 12, Denial and Defiance, Elimination and Suspension, Restraint and Moderation




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