Examples of detain in a sentence
They were detained by the police for questioning.
He claimed he had been illegally detained.
Unexpected business had detained her.
Origin and Etymology of detain
Middle English deteynen, from Anglo-French deteign-, stem of detenir, modification of Latin detinēre, from de- + tenēre to hold — more at thin
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of detain
delay, retard, slow, slacken, detain mean to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress. delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival <bad weather delayed our arrival>. retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping <language barriers retarded their progress>. slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention <medication slowed the patient's heart rate>, slacken an easing up or relaxing of power or effort <on hot days runners slacken their pace>. detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time <unexpected business had detained her>.
DETAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of detain for English Language Learners
: 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
DETAIN Defined for Kids
Legal Definition of detain
1 : to hold or keep in custody or possession <property wrongfully detained> <a juvenile detained in a care facility>
2 : to restrain from proceeding <detained the driver and asked to see his license>
Seen and Heard
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