Definition of detain
- detained by the police for questioning
- was detained by a flat tire
They were detained by the police for questioning.
He claimed he had been illegally detained.
Unexpected business had detained her.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
: to officially prevent (someone) from leaving a place : to hold or keep (someone) in a prison or some other place
: to keep or prevent (someone) from leaving or arriving at the expected time
What made you want to look up detain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
subject to rapid or unexpected change
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