1610s, "act or process of refining; state of being pure," from refine + -ment. Meaning "fineness of feeling" is from 1708.
Refinement is properly most negative, representing a freeing from what is gross, coarse, rude, and the like, or a bringing of one out of a similar condition in which he is supposed to have been at the start. Cultivation and culture represent the person or the better part of him as made to grow by long-continued and thorough work. [Century Dictionary, 1900]