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a regularly recurring melody, such as the chorus of a song



(1) In poetry, a line or group of lines repeated at the end of a couplet. A refrain that forms an entire stanza is generally termed a pripev. The refrain and pripev developed in folk songs, in which the zapev (lead-in) was usually sung by a soloist and the refrain by the chorus. The refrain and zapev then entered literature, mainly genres that were meant to be sung or that were stylized in the manner of folklore. Such fixed verse forms as the triolet, rondeau, rondel, and French ballad are based on refrains.

(2) In music, a theme in an instrumental or vocal work that is stated at least three times and that unites the work structurally. It is characteristic of the rondo and rondo-like forms. Sometimes a refrain becomes the dominant theme and is repeated to emphasize a particularly important idea in the work.

References in periodicals archive ?
Jeffrey should have refrained from making comments and remarks on Turkey's internal political life, the MFA spokesman underlined.
Students were asked to complete self-administered surveys every six months for two years; the analyses were based on the 612 teenagers who answered the baseline survey's questions about their sexual experience and any emotional or social consequences they had experienced because they had refrained from having vaginal or oral sex.
In such cases, the media have refrained from reporting even that the kidnapping took place until the case is settled.
To this image he adds another "P.V." excerpt and the oft-cited passage "There are thus two interpretations of interpretation, of structure, of sign, of play." This snippet is attributed to "J.D." (Guess who-the very thinker who problematized such attributional "signatures" in the first place.) In the most disappointing "Essay," Kosuth has repictured his groundbreaking 1965 work, One and Three Photographs, two grainy black-and-white photographs of a tree alongside a photograph of a dictionary definition of the word "photograph." This original refraining is refrained with a quotation from "T.T." on immanence and one by "G.P." on interpretations of beginnings and endings.
And you've held your tongue and refrained from taking sides in any office debates.