de·​tain·​er | \ di-ˈtā-nər How to pronounce detainer (audio) \

Definition of detainer

1 : the act of keeping something in one's possession specifically : the withholding from the rightful owner of something that has lawfully come into the possession of the holder
2 : detention in custody
3 : a writ authorizing the keeper of a prison to continue to hold a person in custody

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Examples of detainer in a Sentence

keep him in detainer for at least 72 hours she filed an action for unlawful detainer of land after nonpayment of rent

Recent Examples on the Web

An Indiana federal judge ruled that the detainers violate due process laws because people are being held without a warrant or probable cause. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Why the suspect in Edwin Jackson's death wasn't deported a year ago," 11 Feb. 2018 Officials do not have the authority to detain people solely on the basis of civil immigration detainers. Akilah Johnson,, "Rights group sues Bristol sheriff who detained Salvadoran for ICE," 19 June 2018 Check out what happened courtesy of Philadelphia's refusal to cooperate with ICE detainers. Fox News, "Jay Sekulow: Mueller investigation needs to end 'very soon'," 9 Aug. 2018 The city and federal governments are currently battling in court over whether Philadelphia must comply with ICE detainers. Aubrey Nagle,, "Supporters rally for gay man detained by ICE, city shares memories of LOVE | Morning Newsletter," 23 May 2018 His charges drew the attention of federal immigration officials, who on Aug. 3, 2015, requested that Montgomery County jail officials hold Garza Palacios on a detainer so federal officials could assess whether to deport him. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Reaching for his cellphone, an off-duty FBI agent crashed his car. Moments later came tragedy.," 1 May 2018 Escobar was being held without bail but U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials have filed a detainer seeking to take him into custody if he is released, the agency said. Christopher Weber, The Seattle Times, "Suspect in deadly California attacks was deported 6 times," 25 Sep. 2018 The station reported that after an arrest in 2015 on local charges, Montgomery County released Garza Palacios from custody despite an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer to hold him. Fox News, "ICE arrests man in Maryland crash that killed FBI agent, fire marshal," 2 Oct. 2018 Philadelphia however refused to comply with an ICE detainer request. Fox News, "Jay Sekulow: Mueller investigation needs to end 'very soon'," 9 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detainer.' 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 detainer

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for detainer

Anglo-French detenour, alteration of detenir

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Last Updated

27 Mar 2019

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The first known use of detainer was in 1619

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More Definitions for detainer


de·​tain·​er | \ di-ˈtā-nər How to pronounce detainer (audio) \

Legal Definition of detainer

1 : the act of keeping something in one's possession specifically : unlawful detainer
2 : detention in custody
3 : a notification sent by a prosecutor, judge, or other official advising a prison official that a prisoner is wanted to answer criminal charges and requesting continued detention of the prisoner or notification of the prisoner's impending release — compare extradition

History and Etymology for detainer

Anglo-French detenoure, from detenir to restrain, detain, from Old French, from Latin detinere

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