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rein

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Definition to restrain or control; or a means of control
The meaning of rein depends upon its context. For example:
  • "keep a tight rein on the new employee," or "rein in a horse" — to control or restrain
  • "give the new employee free rein," or "give the horse full rein" — do not restrain
  • "the reins of government" — means of control
  • "the reins of the horse" — leather straps used with a bit to control a horse (You might like to think of other senses of rein as being figurative derivations from this sense.)


To "rein in" or to "keep a tight rein" is to restrain.

To "give free rein" is not to restrain (not to exercise control over)
  • The court reined in agency power—describing it as out of control.
reined in = restrained
  • She took up the reins of government.
  • reins = means of control
  • I try to keep a tight rein on my emotions when I talk with her.
  • rein = control
  • Keep a tight rein on that horse.
  • rein = leather strap (that is used with a bit to control a horse)
  • She is committed to reining in excessive government infringement of personal freedom.
  • reining in = restraining
  • He reined the horse around
    Hal Borland  --  When the Legends Die
  • reined = forced (the horse) in a direction by pulling on straps that are attached to the bit in its mouth
  • He let go the reins of command.
    Michael Shaara  --  The Killer Angels
  • reins = means of control
  • Frog Lip reined in his horse and watched as both cows fell through the roof of the sod house.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • reined in = restrained or controlled (by pulling on straps used to control a horse)
  • He reins the horse round, and wheels to face the parents.
    Peter Shaffer  --  Equus
  • reins = forces (the horse) in a direction by pulling on straps that are attached to the bit in its mouth
  • (no bits or reins were needed in these days, of course)
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • reins = leather straps used with a bit to control a horse
  • At the crest of a hill, with Heart Palace visible on the horizon, Nolan reined in his spirit-dane.
    Frank Beddor  --  The Looking Glass Wars
  • reined in = restrained (stopped by pulling on straps used to control a horse)
  • He reined the mare in tight and kept his heels hard against her sides to let her know he meant business.
    Leslie Marmon Silko  --  Ceremony
  • reined = restrained or controlled
  • I picked up them reins and commenced to whupping on him.
    August Wilson  --  Fences
  • reins = straps used to control a horse
  • Dark lines appeared on Brom's forehead as he reined Snowfire to a halt.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • reined = restrained or controlled
  • He held back on the reins and the horse stopped.
    Ernest J. Gaines  --  The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  • reins = straps used to control a horse
  • If I'm not to hold on by the reins or by your mane, what am I to hold on by?
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Horse and His Boy
  • reins = straps used to control a horse
  • What Grandpa would of really enjoyed, haw, was the sight of Mr. Birdsong reining in the black horses pulling his ambulance-hearse just as our procession turned into the street!
    Olive Ann Burns  --  Cold Sassy Tree
  • reining in = restraining
  • Lale steps in front of the animal, forcing the man to rein it in.
    Heather Morris  --  The Tattooist of Auschwitz
  • rein = restrain or control
  • He tries desperately to rein himself in as Mengele arrives.
    Heather Morris  --  The Tattooist of Auschwitz
  • rein = restrain or control
  • The reins, the halters, the blinkers, the degrading nosebags, were thrown on to the rubbish fire which was burning in the yard.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
reins = leather straps used with a bit to control a horse

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