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 Going beyond the detent brings in the internal combustion engine. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Porsche’s third-generation Cayenne hybrid gets more juice, performance," 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, "Porsche’s third-generation Cayenne hybrid gets more juice, performance," 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, "2019 Maserati Ghibli S Q4: from savior to the sidelines," 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,, "Actor Anton Yelchin's parents settle with Fiat Chrysler after he was crushed to death by his SUV," 23 Mar. 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for detent

Time Traveler

The first known use of detent was in 1688

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Cite this Entry

“Detent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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