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1.
To stop. Often followed by 'from'. 'Refrain' is usually used when speaking about human action.
"Please refrain from using your cell phone in the restaurant, ma'am."

Normally he would have made a Tom Arnold joke at a moment like that, but he was able to refrain from doing so.
by Diggity Monkeez January 08, 2005
 
2.
In a song, a verse that is repeated regularly and often. Applicable to anything repeated with frequency and regularity.

Also to avoid taking an action, usually with some conflict.
"We all lived in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine..."

Jennifer Lopez refrained from firing her personal aid even though her aid had brought her the wrong kind of coke twice now.
by S0meguy April 17, 2007