refraction (n.) Look up refraction at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Late Latin refractionem (nominative refractio) "a breaking up," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin refringere "to break up," from re- "back" (see re-) + comb. form of frangere "to break" (see fraction).
refractive (adj.) Look up refractive at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Late Latin refractivus, or from refract + -ive.
refractor (n.) Look up refractor at Dictionary.com
1769, as a type of telescope, agent noun from refract.
refractory (adj.) Look up refractory at Dictionary.com
"stubborn, obstinate, perverse," 1610s (earlier refractorious, 1550s, refractary, c.1600), from Latin refractarius "obstinate, stubborn," from past participle stem of refringere (see refraction). Related: Refractorily; refractoriness.
refrain (v.) Look up refrain at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French refraigner "restrain, repress, keep in check" (12c., Modern French Réfréner), from Latin refrenare "to bridle, hold in with a bit, check, curb, keep down, control," from re- "back" (see re-) + frenare "restrain, furnish with a bridle," from frenum "a bridle." Related: Refrained; refraining.
refrain (n.) Look up refrain at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French refrain "chorus" (13c.), alteration of refrait, noun use of past participle of refraindre "repeat," also "break off," from Vulgar Latin *refrangere "break off," alteration of Latin refringere "break up, break open" (see refraction) by influence of frangere "to break." Influenced in French by cognate Provençal refranhar "singing of birds, refrain." The notion is of something that causes a song to "break off" then resume. OED says not common before 19c.
reframe (v.) Look up reframe at Dictionary.com
1580s, from re- + frame (v.). Related: Reframed; reframing.
refrangible (adj.) Look up refrangible at Dictionary.com
1670s, from stem of Vulgar Latin *refrangere, from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin frangere "to break" (see fraction).
refresh (v.) Look up refresh at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French refreschier "refresh, renew" (12c.; Modern French rafraîchir), from re- "again" (see re-) + fresche "fresh" (Modern French frais), from a Germanic source (such as Old High German frisc "fresh," see fresh (adj.)). Related: Refreshed; refreshing.
refreshing (adj.) Look up refreshing at Dictionary.com
1570s, present participle adjective from refresh (v.). Mental or spiritual sense is attested from 1690s. Related: Refreshingly.
refreshment (n.) Look up refreshment at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "act or fact of refreshing," originally mental and spiritual, from Old French refreschement (Modern French rafraîchissement, from refreschier (see refresh). Refreshments, of food and drink only, from 1660s.
refrigerant (adj.) Look up refrigerant at Dictionary.com
1590s, originally in medicine; from Latin refrigerans, present participle of refrigerare "make cool or cold" (see refrigeration). As a noun from 1670s.
refrigerate (v.) Look up refrigerate at Dictionary.com
1530s, back-formation from refrigeration, or else from Latin refrigeratus, past participle of refrigerare "make cool or cold." Related: Refrigerated; refrigerating. Earlier words in the same sense of "to make cold, to cool" were infrigiden, infrigidate (both early 15c.).
refrigeration (n.) Look up refrigeration at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "act of cooling or freezing," from Latin refrigerationem (nominative refrigeratio) "a cooling, mitigation of heat," especially in sickness, noun of action from past participle stem of refrigerare, from re- "again" (see re-) + frigerare "make cool," from frigus (genitive frigoris) "cold" (see frigid). Specifically "freezing provisions as a means of preserving them" from 1881.
refrigerator (n.) Look up refrigerator at Dictionary.com
1610s, "something that cools," agent noun from refrigerate. As "cabinet for keeping food cool," 1824, originally in the brewery trade, in place of earlier refrigeratory (c.1600). The electric-powered household device was available from c.1918.
refry (v.) Look up refry at Dictionary.com
1957, in refried beans, which translates Spanish frijoles refritos. From re- + fry (v.).
reft Look up reft at Dictionary.com
past participle of reave.
refuel (v.) Look up refuel at Dictionary.com
also re-fuel, 1811, from re- "again" + fuel (v.). Originally in a spiritual sense. Related: Refueled; refuelling.
refuge (n.) Look up refuge at Dictionary.com
"shelter or protection from danger or distress," late 14c., from Old French refuge "hiding place" (12c.), from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive) + -ium "place for."
refugee (n.) Look up refugee at Dictionary.com
1680s, from French refugié, noun use of past participle of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from Old French refuge (see refuge). First applied to French Huguenots who migrated after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "one seeking asylum," till 1914, when it evolved to mean "one fleeing home" (first applied in this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I). In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.
refulgence (n.) Look up refulgence at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Latin refulgentia "reflected luster, splendor," from refulgens (see refulgent). Related: Refulgency (1610s).
refulgent (adj.) Look up refulgent at Dictionary.com
c.1500, from Middle French refulgent or directly from Latin refulgentem (nominative refulgens), present participle of refulgere "flash back, shine brilliantly," from re- "back" (see re-) + fulgere "to shine" (see bleach (v.)).
refund (v.) Look up refund at Dictionary.com
"to give back, restore," early 15c. (earlier "to pour back," late 14c.), from Old French refunder "restore" and directly from Latin refundere "give back, restore, return," literally "pour back, flow back," from re- "back" (see re-) + fundere "to pour" (see found (v.2)). Specifically of money from 1550s. Related: Refunded; refunding.
refund (n.) Look up refund at Dictionary.com
"a return of money paid," 1782, from refund (v.).
refurbish (v.) Look up refurbish at Dictionary.com
1610s, from re- "again" + furbish, on model of French refourbir. Related: Refurbished; refurbishing.
refusal (n.) Look up refusal at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from refuse + -al (2).
refuse (v.) Look up refuse at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French refuser "reject, disregard, avoid" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *refusare, frequentative form from past participle stem of Latin refundere "pour back, give back" (see refund (v.)). Related: Refused; refusing.
refuse (n.) Look up refuse at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "an outcast;" mid-14c., "a rejected thing, waste material, trash," from Old French refus "waste product, rubbish; refusal, denial, rejection," a back-formation from the past participle of refuser (see refuse (v.)). As an adjective from late 14c., "despised, rejected;" early 15c., "of low quality."
Refusenik (n.) Look up Refusenik at Dictionary.com
"Soviet Jew who has been refused permission to emigrate to Israel," 1975, a partial translation of Russian otkaznik, from otkazat "to refuse;" with English refuse (v.). Also see -nik.
refutation (n.) Look up refutation at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Middle French réfutation (16c.) and directly from Latin refutationem (nominative refutatio) "disproof of a claim or argument," noun of action from past participle stem of refutare (see refute).
refute (v.) Look up refute at Dictionary.com
1510s, "refuse, reject," from Middle French réfuter (16c.) and directly from Latin refutare "drive back; rebut, disprove; repress, repel, resist, oppose," from re- "back" (see re-) + -futare "to beat," probably from PIE root *bhau- "to strike down" (see bat (n.1)).

Meaning "prove wrong" dates from 1540s. Since c.1964 linguists have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards "to deny," as it is used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.
reg (n.) Look up reg at Dictionary.com
1952 as a shortening of regulation.
regain (v.) Look up regain at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Middle French regaigner (Modern French regagner), from re- "again" (see re-) + gaginer, from Old French gaaignier (see gain (v.)). Related: Regained; regaining.
regal (adj.) Look up regal at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French regal "royal" (12c.) or directly from Latin regalis "royal, kingly; of or belonging to a king, worthy of a king," from rex (genitive regis) "king," from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," hence, "direct in a straight line, rule, guide" (cognates: Sanskrit raj- "a king, a leader;" Avestan razeyeiti "directs;" Persian rahst "right, correct;" Latin regere "to rule," rex "a king, a leader," rectus "right, correct;" Old Irish ri, Gaelic righ "a king;" Gaulish -rix "a king," in personal names, such as Vircingetorix; Gothic reiks "a leader;" Old English rice "kingdom," -ric "king," rice "rich, powerful," riht "correct;" Gothic raihts, Old High German recht, Old Swedish reht, Old Norse rettr "correct"). Related: Regally.
regale (v.) Look up regale at Dictionary.com
"entertain splendidly," 1650s, from French régaler "to entertain or feast," from Old French regale, rigale, from gale "merriment," from galer "make merry" (see gallant (adj.)). Influenced in Old French by se rigoler "amuse oneself, rejoice," of unknown origin. Italian regalo is from French. Related: Regaled; regaling.
regalia (n.) Look up regalia at Dictionary.com
1530s, "rights and powers of a king, royal privilege," from Latin regalia "royal things," noun use of neuter plural of regalis (see regal). Meaning "decorations or insignia of an order" first recorded 1670s.
regard (n.) Look up regard at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "a consideration; a judgment," from Old French regard, from regarder "take notice of," from re-, intensive prefix + garder "look, heed," from Germanic (see guard (n.)). Meanings "a look, appearance; respect, esteem, favor, kindly feeling which springs from a consideration of estimable qualities" all recorded late 14c. Phrase in regard to is from mid-15c. (Chaucer uses at regard of).
regard (v.) Look up regard at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "consider" (that something is so), from Middle French regarder "to look at," from regard (see regard (n.)). Meaning "look upon, observe" is from 1520s, as is that of "observe a certain respect toward." Related: Regarded; regarding.
regardless (adj.) Look up regardless at Dictionary.com
"indifferent," 1590s, from regard (n.) + -less. Elliptical for "regardless of consequences, expenses, etc.," from 1872.
regards (n.) Look up regards at Dictionary.com
plural of regard (n.). In letters, from 1775, from regard in the sense of "esteem, affection" (late 14c.).
regatta (n.) Look up regatta at Dictionary.com
1650s, name of a boat race among gondoliers held on the Grand Canal in Venice, from Italian (Venetian dialect) regatta, literally "contention for mastery," from rigattare "to compete, haggle, sell at retail." [Klein's sources, however, suggest a source in Italian riga "row, rank," from a Germanic source and related to English row (v.).] The general meaning of "boat race, yacht race" is usually considered to have begun with a race on the Thames by that name June 23, 1775 (see OED), but there is evidence that it was used as early as 1768.
regency (n.) Look up regency at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "government by regents," from Medieval Latin regentia, from Latin regens (see regent). Notable instances were: France 1715-1723 (under Philip, Duke of Orleans), Britain 1811-1820 (under George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent), "in each case with suggestion of debauchery" [Weekley]. In reference to the style of that time, attested from 1880 (there is an unexplained use in Jane Austen from 1793). Compare French equivalent Régence, attested in English from 1919. U.S. Albany Regency refers to dominant political faction in New York state c.1820-1850.
regeneracy (n.) Look up regeneracy at Dictionary.com
1620s; see regenerate + -cy.
regenerate (adj.) Look up regenerate at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Latin regeneratus, past participle of regenerare "bring forth again" (see regeneration).
regenerate (v.) Look up regenerate at Dictionary.com
1550s, back-formation from regeneration or else from Latin regeneratus, past participle of regenerare "bring forth again" (see regeneration). Originally religious; of body parts from 1590s. Related: Regenerated; regenerating. Replaced earlier regeneren (c.1400), from Old French regenerer.
regeneration (n.) Look up regeneration at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Late Latin regenerationem (nominative regeneratio) "a being born again," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin regenerare "make over, generate again," from re- "again" (see re-) + generare "to produce" (see generation). Originally spiritual; of animal tissue, early 15c.; of forests, 1888.
regenerative (adj.) Look up regenerative at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French regeneratif or directly from Medieval Latin regenerativus, from regeneratus, past participle of regenerare "bring forth again" (see regeneration).
regent (n.) Look up regent at Dictionary.com
"one who rules during the minority or absence of a sovereign," c.1400, from the adjective (now archaic, attested in English late 14c.), from Old French regent and directly from Medieval Latin regentem (nominative regens), from Latin regens "ruler, governor," noun use of present participle of regere "to rule, direct" (see regal). Senses of "university faculty member" is attested from mid-15c., originally Scottish.
reggae (n.) Look up reggae at Dictionary.com
1968, Jamaican English (first in song title "Do the Reggay" by Toots & the Maytals), perhaps [OED, Barnhart] related to rege-rege "a quarrel, protest," literally "ragged clothes," variant of raga-raga, alteration and reduplication of English rag (n.).
regicide (n.) Look up regicide at Dictionary.com
1540s, "man who kills a king," formed from Latin rex (genitive regis) "king" (see regal) on model of suicide. Meaning "crime of killing a king" is from c.1600.