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[ri-fahyn] /rɪˈfaɪn/
verb (used with object), refined, refining.
to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities:
to refine metal, sugar, or petroleum.
to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
to bring to a finer state or form by purifying.
to make more fine, subtle, or precise:
to refine one's writing style.
verb (used without object), refined, refining.
to become pure:
The silver is refining in the furnace.
to become more fine, elegant, or polished:
His parents hope that his manners will refine as he gets older.
to make fine distinctions in thought or language.
Verb phrases
refine on/upon, to improve by inserting finer distinctions, superior elements, etc.:
to refine on one's previous work.
1575-85; re- + fine1
Related forms
refinable, adjective
refiner, noun
prerefine, verb (used with object), prerefined, prerefining.
self-refining, adjective
superrefine, verb (used with object), superrefined, superrefining.
unrefining, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for refine
  • Most of these images refine and distill an unease with the body that pervades real life.
  • All faculty and students are part of an ongoing effort to determine and refine the effectiveness of instruction and learning.
  • But refine the alkaloids in coca, and you get cocaine.
  • Future studies might further refine our understanding how long the planet was habitable.
  • The cerebellum uses the feedback from the muscles to help maintain balance and refine movements.
  • Police have raided the primitive laboratories that refine coca paste.
  • And the only way to do that is to adapt, and reshape, and refine.
  • And input from the human planet hunters is used to refine the algorithms, improving their performance.
  • So physicists have been searching for ways to refine the number.
  • And based on those improvements, industrial geologists can refine their models for exploring deep layers.
British Dictionary definitions for refine


to make or become free from impurities, sediment, or other foreign matter; purify
(transitive) to separate (a mixture) into pure constituents, as in an oil refinery
to make or become free from coarse characteristics; make or become elegant or polished
(transitive) often foll by out. to remove (something impure or extraneous)
(intransitive; often foll by on or upon) to enlarge or improve (upon) by making subtle or fine distinctions
(transitive) to make (language) more subtle or polished
Derived Forms
refinable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from re- + fine1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for refine

1580s, of metals, c.1590 of manners, from re-, intensive prefix, + obsolete fine (v.) "make fine," from fine (adj.) "delicate." Cf. French raffiner, Italian raffinare, Spanish refinar. General and figurative sense is recorded from 1590s; of sugar, from 1610s. Related: Refined; refining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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refine in Medicine

refine re·fine (rĭ-fīn')
v. re·fined, re·fin·ing, re·fines
To reduce to a pure state; purify.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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refine in Technology

1. "Research on Knowledge-Based Software Environments at Kestrel Institute", D.R. Smith et al, IEEE Trans Soft Eng, SE-11(11) (1985). E-mail: .
2. Cordell Green et al, Stanford U. Uses logic to specify and evolve programs. [same as 1?] Reasoning Systems, Inc. E-mail: .

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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