Definition of rein in English:

rein

noun

usually reins
  • 1A long, narrow strap attached at one end to a horse's bit, typically used in pairs to guide or check a horse in riding or driving.

    • ‘Then, with a shake of the reins, the horse galloped ahead and disappeared into the mist.’
    • ‘The old man handed the already saddled brown horse's reins to him.’
    • ‘He reached around me, grasping the horse's reins, and spurred the creature into a gallop.’
    • ‘Her mare strained against the current but did not falter in her strength and all Sadie could do was hold tightly to the reins and trust the horse to make it across.’
    • ‘Nora tightly clutched the horse's reins as she galloped along the countryside.’
    • ‘When they had gotten the horses all bridled and ready, Gina took the reins and led her horse over to the mounting block.’
    • ‘Sir Evelyn's squire bowed, holding out the reins to the horse.’
    • ‘He walked over to Samantha's horse, grabbed the reins, and walked several yards away from the group, where they could not hear him.’
    • ‘Sighing he too climbed up on the carriage and pulled on the reins driving the horses back to the mansion.’
    • ‘Handing the reins of his horse over to one of the stable boys, Conner started walking up the stairs to the large doors.’
    • ‘They walked in and greeted the stable boy as he handed them both the reins to their horses.’
    • ‘Jamie took the reins and the horses began to canter quickly down the road.’
    • ‘Joe dismounted beside him and reached for the reins of Ben's horse.’
    • ‘I accidentally tugged on the reins and the horse went even faster.’
    • ‘She soon took the reins again and guided the horse back to the stables.’
    • ‘Once out of town he flicked the reins and sent the horses into a gallop.’
    • ‘Cali took Chloe's reins and guided her back to the trailer.’
    • ‘Spotting them, she quickly grabbed the reins and led the horses back at a trot.’
    • ‘I concentrated on staring at my horse's reins, which were gripped so tightly in my hands that my knuckles turned white.’
    • ‘Ben stepped down and threw the reins of his horse over the rail.’
    1. 1.1British A pair of straps used to restrain a young child.
      ‘some of the children wore leather baby reins’
      • ‘We offer fully adjustable baby harnesses & baby and child reins to keep kids safe when walking outside.’
      • ‘Baby reins are designed to keep your toddler safe when walking out and about’
    2. 1.2 The power to direct and control.
      ‘a new chairperson will soon take over the reins’
      • ‘Or perhaps we should simply hand the reins of government directly to the people.’
      • ‘"Women who take the reins of power have always prompted mixed reactions.’
      • ‘So he's handed the director's reins to someone else.’
      • ‘But when the celebrations die down, and when the euphoria subsides, do not forget for one moment who handed you back the reins of power.’
      • ‘Wall Street, of course, could not have been more excited by the prospect of taking control of the reins of the monetary system.’
      • ‘John's tight personal hold on the legal and administrative reins of power were as much driven by a need to raise money as they were by his personal obsession with the minutiae of government.’
      • ‘We have to understand that rule of law is the first casualty when a lawless, fascist organisation takes over the reins of state.’
      • ‘Professional norms dictated faith and loyalty not just in deed but in spirit to whoever held the reins of power under the constitutional system.’
      • ‘The outstanding singer, songwriter, musician and producer did the majority of work on his new album himself, holding a tight rein on its creative direction.’
      • ‘She also shows that Irish women are lagging way behind their EU counterparts in taking the reins of power when it comes to running the country.’
      • ‘As Malcolm had said years ago, Dominic was playing a game, slowly moving Jeremy into a leadership role, while holding fast to the reins of power.’
      • ‘After a short time at Dexter Avenue, the younger King wrestled the reins of leadership from the deacons.’
      • ‘The people of the country should be saved from the humiliation of a person of foreign origin holding the reins of power.’
      • ‘Weil takes the reins on the melody and the chaos seems controlled when he's in command.’
      • ‘Furthermore, there were many in that party who just thought it was their turn to grasp the reins of government authority.’
      • ‘European statesmen seized the opportunity to exploit these nationalist movements, while bringing them under a tight rein, in order to further the purposes of state power.’
      • ‘Once Hathaway took the directing reins, he found himself having to improvise with the script on a daily basis.’
      • ‘It is good to see younger members coming through to take over the reins from more established members, bringing a fresh approach to the running of the club.’
      • ‘He is letting a younger man take over the reins.’

verb

  • 1with object and adverbial Check or guide (a horse) by pulling on its reins.

    ‘he reined in his horse and waited’
    • ‘We all reined in our horses, and Rowen dismounted.’
    • ‘She was on the porch, shaking out rugs when he reined his horse to a stop.’
    • ‘Some tipped their worn hats at him in greeting as they passed, while others contentedly reined their horses onward, chewing thoughtfully on a strand of wheat.’
    • ‘Once they had put a few miles between themselves and the castle, he reined the horse in to stop.’
    • ‘I mumbled, reining my horse up beside Jack's, who was leering into the trees, ‘They won't hurt us will they?’’
    • ‘Katie reined her horse, Picket, to a stop at the top of the hill and looked down into the town of Gwen.’
    • ‘A moment later, a shout caused them both to rein their horses around.’
    • ‘They reined their horses up next to the arch.’
    • ‘He put up his arm to halt the other knights as he reined in his own horse, ‘We'll stop here for a few minutes before we get to the castle.’’
    • ‘He reined in his horse, stroking its glossy coat.’
    • ‘She reined her horse to a stop in front of the house.’
    • ‘After a few more moments Holly reined in her steed.’
    • ‘Philip reined his horses in, bringing them to a complete halt at the side of the road as David stopped in front of them, blocking their path, and tied the reins off to hold the horses still.’
    • ‘When the two horsemen reached one another, they reined in.’
    • ‘He reined his horse away from her and pointed his sword at her.’
    • ‘Expertly reining her horse, she was soon side by side with him.’
    • ‘He reined his horse and turned about, cursing himself all the way.’
    • ‘Improvising, he reined his horse back slightly, just enough to convince it to leave the position it knew it should take.’
    • ‘She reined in her horse at the gates and swung down, jamming one of the keys into the padlock on the gate.’
    • ‘Both riders reined in their horses and dismounted.’
    • ‘He reined his horse alongside hers; the groom dropped back to a discreet distance.’
    • ‘He reined in his horse and looked back in the direction they'd come from.’
    • ‘The rider then reined in the horse and looked down the road towards him.’
    • ‘‘Something is not right here,’ Vivian said again, reining her horse to a stop.’
    • ‘Before David turned the corner down the street, he reined in his horse, and turned once more toward his wife and child.’
    1. 1.1 Keep under control; restrain.
      ‘with an effort, she reined back her impatience’
      ‘the government had failed to rein in public spending’
      • ‘The progressive impulse brought down the original robber barons, and reined in corporate greed.’
      • ‘The reality over the next five years is that the Government will have far less resources and will have to rein in spending significantly.’
      • ‘He somehow reined in his emotions and managed a breathless ‘What?’’
      • ‘Transnational corporations will only be reined in locally when they are brought under democratic control internationally.’
      • ‘He took a deep calming breath and reined in his temper.’
      • ‘Fears are growing in the city that the disease cannot be reined in as more people have been infected.’
      • ‘You could stand to rein in your jealousy a little, though, and your boyfriend may want to not fib about things that are going to exacerbate that quality in you.’
      • ‘In the process, they are helping policy makers rein in inflation.’
      • ‘He also said there would be no income tax cuts in the forthcoming budget and that the Government's priority was to rein in spending.’
      • ‘Mr McDowell insisted that he would continue to rein in the overtime budget, which is expected to reach 64 million this year.’
      • ‘In 1858 Britain reined in the East India Company, dissolving its territorial power and making India the responsibility of the British crown.’
      • ‘She admits that she has to be reined in on occasion.’
      • ‘The wider the margins, the better management has reined in costs and kept business humming along.’
      • ‘As for revenue growth, investors still want to see it, but they've reined in their expectations.’
      • ‘The big unknown for hotels and restaurants that had factored corporate extravagance into their plans is how much spending will be reined in.’
      • ‘However, critics would say that the failure to rein in the incomes of the rich has meant that society in Britain is no more equal than it was in 1997.’
      • ‘If political leaders lack the control to rein in their more violent followers, they have no right to public protests.’
      • ‘The museum has been forced to rein in its work in many areas: cutting numbers of staff, reducing opening hours, cancelling exhibitions and installing a rota of closed galleries.’
      • ‘Special police were drafted in to rein in the revelry.’
      • ‘After our long campaign, some of the outlaws are finally being reined in.’
      restrain, check, curb, constrain, hold back, keep in check, keep under control, hold in, regulate, restrict, control, bridle, put the brakes on, slow down, curtail, limit, stop, arrest
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Usage

The idiomatic phrase a free rein, which derives from the literal meaning of using reins to control a horse, is sometimes misinterpreted and written as a free reign. More than a third of the citations for the phrase in the Oxford English Corpus use reign instead of rein

Phrases

  • draw rein

    • Stop one's horse.

      ‘he drew rein and waited for his friend to catch up’
      • ‘Her words tumbled over themselves as she told her father everything she had done, and before she realized it he was drawing rein in front of their own home.’
      • ‘Her father guided the mare carefully through the courtyard to the front of the stone-built castle, then drew rein in front of a blond little boy sitting outside the wide arched doorway.’
      • ‘Lancaster drew rein, tethering his horse in the thicket of pine just off the crest of the hill.’
      • ‘She drew rein, bringing her horse to a halt and facing the largest of the raiders.’
  • keep a tight rein on

    • Exercise strict control over.

      ‘her only chance of survival was to keep a tight rein on her feelings’
      • ‘She's very spontaneous and can be aggressive at times, though she's usually able to keep a tight rein on that.’
      • ‘In this way the ships captain kept a tight rein on his men and when the ship set sail it was with a suitably chastened crew, or so the Captain thought.’
      • ‘Morton keeps a tight rein on all aspects of the business.’
      • ‘The filmmaker keeps a tight rein on her direction and storyline, and the film's strength lies in its view of war through the eyes of women.’
      • ‘But while the company controls advertising and chooses programmes, the state-run TV station keeps a tight rein on news programming.’
      • ‘She also defended the cost, and insisted she kept a tight rein on spending.’
      • ‘She almost seemed artificial, especially with how she kept a tight rein on her emotions, remaining perfectly in control at all times.’
      • ‘The new policies are meant to keep a tight rein on teachers rather than students.’
      • ‘Analysts say the regime will keep a tight rein on dissidents and focus on securing social and political stability.’
      • ‘Revenues had to be grown through adding costs and capital to businesses and then keeping a tight rein on costs while watching profits grow.’
      exercise strict control over, keep on a tight rein, allow little freedom to, regulate, manage, discipline, regiment, keep in line, rule with a rod of iron
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French rene, based on Latin retinere ‘retain’.

Pronunciation

rein

/reɪn/