Refrain: A phrase, line, or lines that recur(s) throughout a poem or song. The refrain may vary slightly — for instance, through incremental repetition — but is generally exactly the same. It usually occurs at the end of a stanza or section but need not do so. When a refrain is intended to be repeated or sung by a group of people, it is called a chorus.

EXAMPLES: Every stanza but the last in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Mariana” (1830) concludes with the following two-line refrain:

She said, “I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead.”

The last stanza ends with an incremental repetition in the second line of the refrain: “’O God, that I were dead!’”

The refrain of Robert Burns’s poem “Auld Lang Syne” (1896) is an entire stanza, a chorus meant to be repeated after every subsequent stanza:

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

The four-line chorus from the popular song “It’s a Small World” (1963) by Richard and Robert Sherman anaphoristically repeats the song title three times. The theme song of the TV show Friends (1994—2004) — the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You” (1994) — similarly repeats the title in the refrain.