What does the word refrain mean?

Usage examples for refrain

  1. How can human beings fed this way be expected to refrain from stealing food when they have an opportunity? – Travels in the Great Desert of Sahara, in the Years of 1845 and 1846 by James Richardson
  2. Amid all this he resolved to free the faithful fellow and, while Bias was eating, he could not refrain from telling him that he had found a mistress for him, that Daphne was the wife whom he had chosen, but the wedding was still a long way off. – The Complete Historical Romances of Georg Ebers by Georg Ebers
  3. So convinced did the young officer become of this, that he could not refrain from watching him. – Middy and Ensign by G. Manville Fenn