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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Refine


REFI'NE, verb transitive

1. To purify; in a general sense; applied to liquors, to depurate; to defecate; to clarify; to separate, as liquor, from all extraneous matter. In this sense, the verb is used with propriety, but it is customary to use fine.

2. Applied to metals, to separate the metallic substance from all other matter, whether another metal or alloy, or any earthy substance; in short, to detach the pure metal from all extraneous matter.

I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined. Zechariah 13:9.

3. To purify, as manners, from what is gross, clownish or vulgar; to polish; to make elegant. We expect to see refined manners in courts.

4. To purify, as language, by removing vulgar words and barbarisms.

5. To purify, as taste; to give a nice and delicate perception of beauty and propriety in literature and the arts.

6. To purify, as the mind or moral principles; to give or implant in the mind a nice perception of truth, justice and propriety in commerce and social intercourse. This nice perception of what is right constitutes rectitude of principle, or moral refinement of mind; and a correspondent practice of social duties, constitutes rectitude of conduct or purity of morals. Hence we speak of a refined mind, refined morals, refined principles.

To refine the heart or soul, to cleanse it from all carnal or evil affections and desires and implant in it holy or heavenly affections.

REFI'NE, verb intransitive

1. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or in any thing that constitutes excellence.

Chaucer refined on Boccace and mended his stories.

Let a lord but own the happy lines, how the wit brightens, how the sense refines!

2. to become pure; to be cleared of feculent matter.

So the pure limpid stream, when foul with stains, works itself clear, and as it runs, refines.

3. To affect nicety. Men sometimes refine in speculation beyond the limits of practical truth.

He makes another paragraph about our refining in controversy.