Definition of refine in English:


See synonyms for refine

Translate refine into Spanish

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.

    ‘sugar was refined by boiling it in huge iron vats’
    • ‘The process gradually refines the steel - compacting the grain while adjusting the carbon content.’
    • ‘Mineral extraction is important: crude oil is refined and exported, there are large coal, tin, and iron ore deposits, and China leads the world in tungsten ore production.’
    • ‘When oil is refined this reaction is used to remove unwanted alkenes.’
    • ‘Most horticultural oils are refined from crude oil.’
    • ‘It handles 40% of the UK's oil production and 90% of Scotland's oil and gas is refined there.’
    • ‘It used to be a real problem to refine sugar before his invention made the process simpler and more profitable.’
    • ‘Copper sulfate comes from refining the metal and is used as a fungicide.’
    • ‘A large portion of imported Nigerian oil is refined into gasoline due to its low sulfur content.’
    • ‘But perhaps the most impressive feat was refining the oil to run vehicles.’
    • ‘Just weeks after the refinery had resumed production of petroleum products, a fire has again swept through one of the furnaces that refines petrol.’
    • ‘It now refines Saudi oil and has emerged as a banking powerhouse for the Islamic world.’
    • ‘Though it will be hard to prove in court, the drug was probably refined in North Korea, from opium poppies grown there as part of a deliberate government program.’
    • ‘Traditionally, low-grade heroin is refined from Afghan opium.’
    • ‘Arabs were probably the first to cultivate and refine sugar around the Mediterranean.’
    • ‘The second heating refines the coarse grains and leaves the steel in a softened condition.’
    • ‘The mining corporation stations thrived as they specialised in refining the raw materials needed by everyone.’
    • ‘It refines the silver to 99.9% purity and then sells it to London bullion markets.’
    • ‘In the 150 years human being have drilled for and refined petroleum, it's estimated we've used about 1 trillion barrels.’
    • ‘So we need more refineries or we at least more refining capacity.’
    • ‘The government would also encourage joint ventures and private sector investment in petroleum refining.’
    purify, clarify, clear, cleanse, strain, sift, filter, rarefy, distil, concentrate, process, treat
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    1. 1.1Improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory, or method) more subtle and accurate.
      ‘ease of access to computers has refined analysis and presentation of data’
      • ‘The premise is correct: there has been progress; theories are refined, generalised, clarified, simplified, and perfected.’
      • ‘We then used the results of our analysis to refine the original theory and to add to the literature in new ways.’
      • ‘The course materials and the presentation methods were progressively refined for each course.’
      • ‘Freud's theories were incidental - useful in refining traditional methods of popular control perhaps, but a sideshow.’
      • ‘I try to touch on topics that I feel are universal, and refine my methods of communication so what I'm saying is clear to any listener.’
      • ‘Our consensus now maintains social equilibrium by the more refined method of suppressing forms of thought.’
      • ‘The frying method was refined by the Japanese into the light, crispy, yummy treat we know today.’
      • ‘After the events of the last week, it looks as if we have merely refined our methods.’
      • ‘Rundle and Holliday are working to refine the method and find new ways to visualize the data.’
      • ‘The Navy built upon the work of McCarty Little, continually refining his technique.’
      • ‘From then on, astrophysicists have continually refined the model by looking closer and closer.’
      • ‘Good investors continually refine their stock picking method, tweaking it here and there.’
      • ‘The concept was subsequently refined by Myers and CI, most recently in 2000.’
      • ‘Anderson's original design was then refined by Bill Lloyd, CCA's public relations department manager.’
      • ‘He attempted to simplify and refine existing theories and to present them from new perspectives.’
      • ‘Universities not only transmit knowledge, they also refine existing knowledge and develop new knowledge and ideas.’
      • ‘The questionnaire was further refined on the basis of their feedback.’
      • ‘Laws against sexual harassment have been refined over the years, including harassment at the workplace.’
      • ‘The American system of training has been refined over the years and at no time is a trainee left unsupervised.’
      • ‘The author refines a paper to the point that it is ready for exposure and discussion.’
      improve, perfect, polish, polish up, hone, temper, fine-tune, elaborate, touch up, revise, edit, copy-edit
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/rəˈfīn/ /rəˈfaɪn/


Late 16th century from re-‘again’ + the verb fine, influenced by French raffiner.