English

Definition of refrain verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

refrain

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪn//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪn//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they refrain
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪn//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪn//
 
he / she / it refrains
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪnz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪnz//
 
past simple refrained
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪnd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪnd//
 
past participle refrained
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪnd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪnd//
 
-ing form refraining
BrE BrE//rɪˈfreɪnɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfreɪnɪŋ//
 
 
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[intransitive] (formal) to stop yourself from doing something, especially something that you want to do synonym desist refrain (from something) Please refrain from smoking. They appealed to the protesters to refrain from violence. refrain (from doing something) He has refrained from criticizing the government in public. Word Originverb Middle English (in the sense ‘restrain a thought or feeling’): from Old French refrener, from Latin refrenare, from re- (expressing intensive force) + frenum ‘bridle’.Extra examples He deliberately refrained from expressing his opinion on the matter. I refrained from laughing. Priscilla could barely refrain from clapping her hands together.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: refrain

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