Definition of rein noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//reɪn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//reɪn//
    Equine sports
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  1. 1[countable, usually plural] a long narrow leather band that is attached to a metal bar in a horse’s mouth (= a bit) and is held by the rider in order to control the horse She pulled gently on the reins. Wordfinderbridle, gallop, harness, horse, paddock, rein, stable, stirrup, tack, thoroughbred See related entries: Equine sports
  2. 2reins [plural] (British English) strips of leather, etc. worn by a small child and held by an adult in order to stop the child from walking off and getting lost
  3. 3the reins [plural] the state of being in control or the leader of something It was time to hand over the reins of power (= to give control to somebody else). The vice-president was forced to take up the reins of office.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French rene, based on Latin retinere ‘retain’.Extra examples He seized the reins of power. It’s the Treasury that effectively holds the reins. It’s the accountants who effectively hold the reins. Parents need to loosen the reins as the child grows. Sean gathered up the horse’s reins. She had the horse on a long rein. She pulled sharply on the reins. He took the reins and walked the horse down the street. She jerked the reins and put the pony into a trot. Shorten your reins and lean forward more.Idioms
    give/allow somebody/something free/full rein, give/allow free/full rein to something
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    to give somebody complete freedom of action; to allow a feeling to be expressed freely The designer was given free rein. The script allows full rein to her larger-than-life acting style. When I paint I just give my imagination free rein.
    to keep a tight rein on somebody/something
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    to control somebody/something carefully or strictly It’s essential to keep a tight rein on public spending.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rein