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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Jail Superintendent Ben Champagne said ICE placed a detainer on Zhukovskyy on Tuesday. Washington Post, "2 more deputies fired for neglect in Parkland," 27 June 2019 Opponents also argued that holding people based on an immigration detainer was unconstitutional. CBS News, "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs "sanctuary cities" ban," 14 June 2019 But the jail kept Lopez-Flores behind bars until 12:30 p.m. that day, based only on the immigration detainer, her attorney David Henretty wrote in the suit., "Oregon sheriff violated federal law by holding woman in jail solely on immigration detainer, suit alleges," 11 June 2019 Carrera-Garcia was the first of three people to sue the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office after allegedly being wrongfully held on an immigration detainer. Ruth Brown, idahostatesman, "A local man claimed he was wrongfully held in jail on ICE hold. Now the county must pay him.," 4 June 2019 California’s sanctuary law also prohibits honoring ICE detainers. Thy Vo, The Mercury News, "Sanctuary for immigrants: Santa Clara County sticks with its no-notification policy toward ICE," 4 June 2019 In 2017, according to the jail, there were no detainers requested; since January 2018, the jail has honored six requests. Liz Robbins, New York Times, "A Lone New York Sheriff Signs Up to Aid Immigration Crackdown," 20 Mar. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of detainer

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for detainer

Anglo-French detenour, alteration of detenir

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about detainer

Dictionary Entries near detainer

detail work







Statistics for detainer

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detainer

The first known use of detainer was in 1619

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on detainer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detainer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detainer

Comments on detainer

What made you want to look up detainer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!