AskDefine | Define refine

Dictionary Definition

refine

Verb

1 improve or perfect by pruning or polishing; "refine one's style of writing" [syn: polish, fine-tune, down]
2 make more complex, intricate, or richer; "refine a design or pattern" [syn: complicate, rarify, elaborate]
3 treat or prepare so as to put in a usable condition; "refine paper stock"; "refine pig iron"; "refine oil"
4 reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; separate from extraneous matter or cleanse from impurities; "refine sugar" [syn: rectify]
5 attenuate or reduce in vigor, strength, or validity by polishing or purifying; "many valuable nutrients are refined out of the foods in our modern diet"
6 make more precise or increase the discriminatory powers of; "refine a method of analysis"; "refine the constant in the equation"

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From re- + fine.

Pronunciation

  • /ɹɪˈfaɪn/
  • Rhymes: -aɪn

Verb

  1. To reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; to free from impurities; to free from dross or alloy; to separate from extraneous matter; to purify; as, to refine gold or silver; to refine iron; to refine wine or sugar.
  2. To purify from what is gross, coarse, vulgar, inelegant, low, and the like; to make elegant or exellent; to polish; as, to refine the manners, the language, the style, the taste, the intellect, or the moral feelings.
  3. To become pure; to be cleared of feculent matter.
  4. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or excellence.
  5. To affect nicety or subtlety in thought or language.

Translations

Extensive Definition

Refining is the process of purification of a substance. The term is usually used of a natural resource that is almost in a usable form, but which is more useful in its pure form. For instance, most types of natural petroleum will burn straight from the ground, but it will burn poorly and quickly clog an engine with residues and byproducts. The term is broad, and may include more drastic transformations, such as the reduction of ore to metal (for which see Refining (metallurgy)).
The refining of liquids is often accomplished by distillation or fractionation. Gases can be refined in this way as well, by being cooled and/or compressed until they liquefy. Gases and liquids can also be refined by extraction with a selective solvent that dissolves away either the substance of interest, or the unwanted impurities.
Many solids can be refined by growing crystals in a solution of the impure material; the regular structure of the crystal tends to favor the desired material and exclude other kinds of particles.
Chemical reactions are often used to remove impurities of particular types.
The use of silicon and other semiconductors in electronics is highly dependent on precise control of impurities, and a number of special techniques have been developed, such as zone refining.
Types of materials that are usually refined:

See also

refine in Danish: Raffinering
refine in German: Raffination
refine in Spanish: Refinación
refine in Persian: پالایش
refine in French: Raffinage
refine in Icelandic: Hreinsun
refine in Italian: Raffinazione
refine in Georgian: აფინაჟი
refine in Japanese: 精錬
refine in Dutch: Raffinage
refine in Norwegian: Foredling
refine in Polish: Rafinacja
refine in Russian: Аффинаж
refine in Serbo-Croatian: Rafiniranje
refine in Finnish: Raffinointi
refine in Swedish: Raffinering
refine in Chinese: 精炼

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abate, abrade, abstract, acculturate, advance, ameliorate, amend, bate, beautify, better, bolt, boost, bring forward, carve, chisel, civilize, clarify, cleanse, clear, colliquate, concentrate, convert, cultivate, curtail, decoct, decontaminate, decrassify, decrease, deduct, defrost, depreciate, depurate, derogate, detract, develop, diminish, disparage, distill, drain, eat away, edify, educate, edulcorate, elaborate, elevate, elute, embellish, emend, enhance, enlighten, enrich, erode, essentialize, evolve, excite, express, extract, fatten, favor, file away, filter, filtrate, finish, flux, focus, forward, foster, fuse, go straight, grow, harvest, hone, impair, improve, improve upon, infuse, lard, leach, lessen, lift, lixiviate, machine, make an improvement, make sensitive, mature, meliorate, melt, melt down, mend, mill, mine, narrow, nurture, oversimplify, percolate, perfect, polish, press out, process, promote, pump, purify, quicken, raise, rear, rectify, reduce, reduce to elements, refine upon, reform, remove, render, retrench, ripen, round, rub away, run, screen, season, sensibilize, sensitize, separate, sharpen, shorten, sieve, sift, simplify, sleek, slick, smelt, smooth, soak, socialize, spiritualize, steep, stimulate, stir, straighten out, strain, streamline, strip down, subduct, sublimate, sublime, subtilize, subtract, take away, take from, thaw, thin, thin out, transfigure, transform, try, unfreeze, upgrade, uplift, wear away, weed, whet, winnow, withdraw, wring, wring out
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