det·​i·​nue | \ ˈde-tᵊn-ˌ(y)ü How to pronounce detinue (audio) \

Definition of detinue

1 : a common-law action for the recovery of a personal chattel wrongfully detained or of its value
2 : detention of something due especially : the unlawful detention of a personal chattel from another

Examples of detinue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Christopher Akpala, owner of the Uac Food Mart in the 900 block of Bennett Place in Harlem Park, filed the detinue — a legal claim to recover wrongfully seized property — in January, according to court records. Kevin Rector,, 15 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of detinue

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for detinue

Middle English detenewe, from Anglo-French detenue detention, from feminine of detenu, past participle of detenir to detain

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The first known use of detinue was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Detinue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for detinue


det·​i·​nue | \ ˈdet-ᵊn-ˌü, -ˌyü How to pronounce detinue (audio) \

Legal Definition of detinue

: a common-law action for the recovery of personal property belonging to the plaintiff that is wrongfully detained by the defendant — compare trover

History and Etymology for detinue

Anglo-French detenue, from feminine past participle of detenir to detain — see detainer


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