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Refrain

Definition

A refrain (from the Old French refraindre "to repeat," likely from Vulgar Latin refringere) is the line or lines that are repeated in poetry, usually after every stanza.

[n] the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers
[v] choose to refrain; "I abstain from alcohol"
[v] not do something; "He refrained from hitting him back"; "she could not forbear weeping"

Example

For example, one version of the traditional ballad The Cruel Sister includes a refrain mid-verse:

There lived a lady by the North Sea shore,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
Two daughters were the babes she bore.
Fa la la la la la la la.
As one grew bright as is the sun,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
So coal black grew the other one.
Fa la la la la la la la.

Related Information

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