refrain

refrain, abstain, forbear are comparable when they mean to keep or withhold oneself voluntarily from something to which one is moved by desire or impulse.
Refrain is especially suitable when the checking of a momentary inclination is implied
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refrain from laughter

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At times, to refrain from an action implies merely its nonperformance
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no tolerable parent could refrain from praising a child when it first walks— Russell

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Abstain is more emphatic than refrain, because it usually stresses deliberate renunciation or self-denial on principle and often implies permanency of intent
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early Christians . . . abstained from the responsibilities of office— Acton

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I have . . . abstained from the use of many expressions, in themselves proper and beautiful, but which have been foolishly repeated by bad poets— Wordsworth

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It is used especially in reference to those natural appetites and passions whose control or renunciation are a part of self-discipline
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from this personal blow stemmed, I believe, an act of renun-ciation, his decision to abstain from meat— Shirer

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Forbear usually implies self-restraint rather than self- denial, be it from patience, charity, or clemency, or from discretion, or from stoicism
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he was so poison-mean that the marsh mosquitoes forbore to bite him— S. H. Adams

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wherever he has not the power to do or forbear any act according to the determination or thought of the mind, he is not free— Thilly

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But often forbear is but vaguely distinguishable from refrain
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I cannot forbear quoting what seems to me applicable here— Justice Holmes

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Analogous words: check, *arrest, interrupt: *restrain, curb, inhibit

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • refrain — [ r(ə)frɛ̃ ] n. m. • 1260; altér. de refrait, de refraindre (lat. pop. ° refrangere) « briser », et par ext. « réprimer, contenir; moduler la voix » 1 ♦ Suite de mots ou de phrases qui revient à la fin de chaque couplet d une chanson, d un poème… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • refrain — REFRAIN. s. m. Un ou plusieurs vers, ou quelques mots seulement qui se repetent à chaque couplet d une chanson, d une balade, d un chant Royal, &c. Le refrain de cette chanson est fort agreable. le refrain de la balade. On appelle aussi fig.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Refrain — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Refrain» Canción de Lys Assia Álbum Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión 1956 Publicación 1956 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Refrain — Re*frain , n. [F. refrain, fr. OF. refraindre; cf. Pr. refranhs a refrain, refranher to repeat. See {Refract},{Refrain}, v.] 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • refrain — ‘chorus of a song’ [14] and refrain ‘desist’ [14] are different words. The former comes via Old French refrain from Provençal refranh. This was a derivative of the verb refranhar, which went back via Vulgar Latin *refrangere to Latin refringere… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Refrain — Sm Kehrreim erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. refrain, eigentlich Rückprall der Wogen von den Klippen , einer Ableitung von afrz. refraindre brechen , aus l. refringere (refrāctum) aufbrechen, zerbrechen , zu l. frangere brechen …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • refrain — Ⅰ. refrain [1] ► VERB (refrain from) ▪ stop oneself from (doing something). ORIGIN Latin refrenare, from frenum bridle . Ⅱ. refrain [2] ► NOUN ▪ a repeated line or section …   English terms dictionary

  • refrain — ‘chorus of a song’ [14] and refrain ‘desist’ [14] are different words. The former comes via Old French refrain from Provençal refranh. This was a derivative of the verb refranhar, which went back via Vulgar Latin *refrangere to Latin refringere… …   Word origins

  • Refrain — Re*frain (r[ e]*fr[=a]n ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Refrained} ( fr[=a]nd ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Refraining}.] [OE. refreinen, OF. refrener, F. refr[ e]ner, fr. L. refrenare; influenced by OF. refraindre to restrain, moderate, fr. LL. refrangere, for L …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Refrain — Re*frain , v. i. To keep one s self from action or interference; to hold aloof; to forbear; to abstain. [1913 Webster] Refrain from these men, and let them alone. Acts v. 38. [1913 Webster] They refrained therefrom [eating flesh] some time after …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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