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

An agency spokeswoman Friday said ICE has issued immigration detainers for the six suspects. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "ICE says six suspects arrested in Towson killing are in U.S. illegally and MS-13 members," 6 Sep. 2019 Terry Morris, Haughton's attorney, also said he was told there was an ICE detainer. Christina Maxouris And Rebekah Riess, CNN, "He was jailed for nearly three months after airport officials claimed he was traveling with liquid meth. It was honey," 28 Aug. 2019 The bill is designed to spur local law-enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal immigration detainers and share information with federal immigration authorities after undocumented immigrants are in custody., "Gov. Ron DeSantis signs ‘sanctuary cities’ bill in Okaloosa," 13 June 2019 When the case was called, a court audio recording captured Joseph, the defense attorney and the prosecutor speaking at sidebar about the ICE detainer. Carma Hassan And Holly Yan, CNN, "A judge accused of helping an undocumented immigrant evade ICE will be paid during her suspension," 13 Aug. 2019 In response to the suit filed by Alpha Omega, the university has filed an unlawful detainer case against the corporation as a way to legally evict Alpha Omega and take ownership of the house, according to Ottilie. Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, "Stanford “unjustly” punished a fraternity for unproven drugging, suit alleges," 8 July 2019 Local law enforcement will be required to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for undocumented immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime. CBS News, "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs "sanctuary cities" ban," 14 June 2019 An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official says Escobar-Orellana was deported in 2010 and 2011, and that ICE has filed an immigration detainer and administrative arrest warrant for him. Washington Post, "The Latest: Police: Victim was in Iowa to work with suspect," 18 July 2019 His family is originally from Ukraine and federal authorities have issued an immigration detainer, planning to take him into custody once the legal proceedings conclude. Laura Crimaldi,, "More arrests, drug abuse detailed for man charged in N.H. crash that killed 7," 27 June 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.

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

11 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!