detain

verb
de·​tain | \ di-ˈtān How to pronounce detain (audio) , dē-\
detained; detaining; detains

Definition of detain

transitive verb

1 : to hold or keep in or as if in custody detained by the police for questioning
2 obsolete : to keep back (something due) : withhold
3 : to restrain especially from proceeding was detained by a flat tire

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Other Words from detain

detainment \ di-​ˈtān-​mənt How to pronounce detainment (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for detain

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control. keep this while I'm gone retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss. managed to retain their dignity even in poverty detain suggests a delay in letting go. detained them for questioning withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go. withheld information from the authorities reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use. reserve some of your energy for the last mile

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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Moscow police said about 200 people were detained, while independent monitoring group OVD-Info said more than 500 were taken into custody and some of them were beaten. Vladimir Isachenkov, BostonGlobe.com, "Putin fires police officers involved in journalist’s case," 13 June 2019 Ultimately, more than 200 people were detained out of 1,200 protesters, the police said, according to the Interfax news agency. Washington Post, "Police detain scores of Moscow protesters as anger simmers over journalist’s arrest," 12 June 2019 Ramon Martinez Perez, who goes by the alias Rolfie, was detained and is currently being questioned, Dominican authorities said. NBC News, "Suspected gunman in David Ortiz shooting arrested as authorities reveal $400K plot to kill him," 12 June 2019 Durán Mejia, the police spokesperson, told CNN that multiple people were detained as a result of the shooting. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "David Ortiz shooting: What we know about the incident, and Red Sox star's condition," 10 June 2019 An organization that tracks politically connected arrests, OVD-Info, said 11 journalists were detained at the protest, but later released without charges. Nataliya Vasilyeva, chicagotribune.com, "Prominent investigative journalist detained in Russia, charged with drug dealing," 7 June 2019 On Saturday, a fifth person was detained, the police said. Alan Yuhas, New York Times, "Five Arrested in London Bus Attack on Two Lesbians," 7 June 2019 The man was then detained and charged with the shooting of the 26-year-old, police said. Mckenna Oxenden, baltimoresun.com, "41-year-old man arrested in Sunday night shooting, Baltimore Police said," 3 June 2019 More than 280 workers were detained, leaving families scrambling in the aftermath. Natascha Uhlmann, Teen Vogue, "How Activists Can Fight Back Against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)," 13 May 2019

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.

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First Known Use of detain

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for detain

Middle English deteynen, from Anglo-French deteign-, stem of detenir, modification of Latin detinēre, from de- + tenēre to hold — more at thin

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Statistics for detain

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detain

The first known use of detain was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for detain

detain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of detain

: to officially prevent (someone) from leaving a place : to hold or keep (someone) in a prison or some other place
formal : to keep or prevent (someone) from leaving or arriving at the expected time

detain

verb
de·​tain | \ di-ˈtān How to pronounce detain (audio) \
detained; detaining

Kids Definition of detain

1 : to hold or keep in or as if in prison The suspect was detained by police.
2 : to stop from going on : delay Snow detained our flight.
de·​tain

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on detain

Spanish Central: Translation of detain

Nglish: Translation of detain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detain for Arabic Speakers

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