Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “refrain”

See all translations

refrain

verb [I] uk   /rɪˈfreɪn/ formal us  
C2 to avoid doing or stop yourself from doing something: We refrained from talking until we knew that it was safe. The sign on the wall said "Please refrain from smoking."

refrain

noun [C] uk   /rɪˈfreɪn/ us  
a short part of a song or poem that is repeated, especially between the verses (= the separate parts) a phrase that is often repeated: "Every vote counts" is a familiar refrain in politics.
Translations of “refrain”
in Korean 그만두다…
in Arabic يَمتنِع…
in French refrain…
in Turkish uzak durmak, sakınmak, kaçınmak…
in Italian trattenersi, astenersi…
in Chinese (Traditional) 避免, 忍住, 節制…
in Russian воздерживаться…
in Polish powstrzymywać się…
in Spanish estribillo…
in Portuguese abster-se, refrear, conter…
in German der Refrain…
in Catalan abstenir-se…
in Japanese 控える, 自粛する…
in Chinese (Simplified) 避免, 忍住, 节制…
(Definition of refrain from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of refrain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “refrain” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

illusion

an idea or belief that is not true

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

showrooming noun

February 23, 2015
the activity of examining a product in a physical store and then making the purchase with an online retailer Amazon’s new smartphone is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy.

Read More