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reins

[reynz] /reɪnz/
plural noun
1.
the kidneys.
2.
the region of the kidneys, or the lower part of the back.
3.
(especially in Biblical use) the seat of the feelings or affections, formerly identified with the kidneys.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English reines, reenes < Old French reins; compare Old English (once) rēnys; both < Latin rēnēs kidneys, loins (plural); cf. renal

rein

[reyn] /reɪn/
noun
1.
Often, reins. a leather strap, fastened to each end of the bit of a bridle, by which the rider or driver controls a horse or other animal by pulling so as to exert pressure on the bit.
2.
any of certain other straps or thongs forming part of a harness, as a checkrein.
3.
any means of curbing, controlling, or directing; check; restraint.
4.
reins, the controlling or directing power:
the reins of government.
verb (used with object)
5.
to check or guide (a horse or other animal) by exerting pressure on a bridle bit by means of the reins.
6.
to curb; restrain; control.
verb (used without object)
7.
to obey the reins:
a horse that reins well.
8.
to rein a horse or other animal.
Idioms
9.
draw rein, to curtail one's speed or progress; halt:
The rider saw the snake and drew rein sharply.
10.
give rein to, to give complete freedom to; indulge freely:
to give rein to one's imagination.
Also, give free rein to, give full rein to.
Origin
1300-50; (noun) Middle English rene, reine, raine < Old French re(s)ne < Vulgar Latin *retina, noun derivative of Latin retinēre to hold back, retain; (v.) Middle English rainen, reinen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
reinless, adjective
unreined, adjective
Can be confused
rain, reign, rein.
Synonyms
6. check, bridle, limit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for reins
  • There's no reason they can't now be handed the reins of civilization itself.
  • He took the reins of a tribe whose finances had grown remarkably during the previous two decades.
  • We must take the reins and guide our moral development.
  • By all accounts, handing him the reins was a natural transition supported by the founders.
  • Yet they remain unable to agree on who should ultimately hold the reins.
  • He released the day-to-day reins of his company seven years ago.
  • Now there is a winner, although he takes the reins under a cloud.
  • Who should take the reins and when are tricky questions for family owners.
  • The parties unlucky to be at the reins of power during the economical crisis are deemed to lose the following elections.
  • The reins of authority had been unfairly thrust into her hands.
British Dictionary definitions for reins

reins

/reɪnz/
plural noun
1.
(archaic) the kidneys or loins
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Latin rēnēs the kidneys

rein

/reɪn/
noun
1.
(often pl) one of a pair of long straps, usually connected together and made of leather, used to control a horse, running from the side of the bit or the headstall to the hand of the rider, driver, or trainer
2.
a similar device used to control a very young child
3.
any form or means of control: to take up the reins of government
4.
the direction in which a rider turns (in phrases such as on a left (or right) rein, change the rein)
5.
something that restrains, controls, or guides
6.
give free rein, give a free rein, to allow considerable freedom; remove restraints
7.
keep a tight rein on, to control carefully; limit: we have to keep a tight rein on expenditure
8.
on a long rein, with the reins held loosely so that the horse is relatively unconstrained
9.
shorten the reins, to take up the reins so that the distance between hand and bit is lessened, in order that the horse may be more collected
verb
10.
(transitive) to check, restrain, hold back, or halt with or as if with reins
11.
to control or guide (a horse) with a rein or reins: they reined left
See also rein in
Word Origin
C13: from Old French resne, from Latin retinēre to hold back, from re- + tenēre to hold; see restrain
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 reins
n.

see rein (n.). Figurative sense "means of controlling; control, check, restraint" is from early 14c.

rein

n.

c.1300, "strap fastened to a bridle," from Old French rene, resne "reins, bridle strap, laces" (Modern French rêne), probably from Vulgar Latin *retina "a bond, check," back-formation from Latin retinere "hold back" (see retain). To give something free rein is originally of horses.

v.

c.1300, from rein (n.). Figurative extension "put a check on" first recorded 1580s. Related: Reined; reining. To rein up "halt" (1550s) is from the way to make a horse stop by pulling up on the reins.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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reins in Medicine

reins (rānz)
pl.n.
The kidneys, loins, or lower back.

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

the kidneys, the supposed seat of the desires and affections; used metaphorically for "heart." The "reins" and the "heart" are often mentioned together, as denoting the whole moral constitution of man (Ps. 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 139:13; Jer. 17:10, etc.).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with reins
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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5
6
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