de·​tent | \ ˈdē-ˌtent How to pronounce detent (audio) , di-ˈtent \

Definition of detent

: a device (such as a catch, dog, or spring-operated ball) for positioning and holding one mechanical part in relation to another in a manner such that the device can be released by force applied to one of the parts

Examples of detent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The watch is a regulator (the hour and minute hands are shown on two separate dials) fitted with a pivoted detent escapement. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 6 June 2022 Reverse is up and to the left of first gear, and its detent—pushing down on the shifter—does not exactly require the hand of a seven-foot-tall bouncer with brass knuckles. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 14 Apr. 2022 Going beyond the detent brings in the internal combustion engine. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, 13 Sep. 2019 As the name suggests, in E-Power, the vehicle uses the electric motor exclusively — at least until the driver reaches a detent in the accelerator pedal. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, 13 Sep. 2019 The frameless door windows are coupelike and the smart door-hinge design opens without stops (detents), eliminating the chance of a door springing into a wall or other parked vehicle. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 July 2019 With a regular gearstick, drivers choose a transmission option (park, reverse, neutral, drive, etc.) by moving the stick into the corresponding notch or detent. Marwa Eltagouri,, 23 Mar. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of detent

1688, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for detent

French détente, from Middle French destente, from destendre to slacken, from Old French, from des- de- + tendre to stretch, from Latin tendere — more at thin

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Cite this Entry

“Detent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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