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 Williamson also had detainer warrants in Harris County and Brazoria County. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Suspects in custody from Friendswood armed robbery," 6 Feb. 2020 Gardner was medically evaluated and lodged in the Lincoln County Jail on a federal detainer. oregonlive, "“Armed and dangerous” alleged military deserter found on Oregon coast," 10 Jan. 2020 In Arapahoe County, Line said, any administrative detainer requests from ICE are noted in the inmate’s file. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "ICE blasts Colorado’s new “sanctuary law” after immigrant released from jail accused of attempted murder," 27 Nov. 2019 The decision affects any detainers issued by an ICE officer in the federal court system’s Central District of California. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, "Federal judge’s ruling upends how ICE targets people for being in the country illegally," 28 Sep. 2019 The controversial detainer process has been successfully challenged in some courts. Doug Friednash, The Denver Post, "Friednash: ICE officials are weaving a false web about Colorado’s “sanctuary state”," 5 Dec. 2019 The ruling applies to states that do not explicitly authorize civil immigration arrests using detainers., "Speaking Thursday at the White House, Matthew Albence called the September ruling an example of ‘‘judicial overreach’’ that threatened public safety.," 11 Oct. 2019 Under the state’s sanctuary-city prohibition, local law enforcement agencies have to hold undocumented immigrants in custody for up to 48 hours if a federal immigration agency sends a detainer request. Ana Ceballos,, "Florida prison guards to be deputized as ICE agents in crackdown on undocumented immigrants," 24 Nov. 2019 Agreeing with prosecutors’ legal position, Yates found that Rivera was effectively taken into custody hours into the interrogation when agents put a detainer on him due to his immigration status. Washington Post, "Judge: Key evidence can be used in Mollie Tibbetts’ slaying," 24 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for detainer

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The first known use of detainer was in 1619

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detainer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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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