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,, "Store owner on block where Det. Suiter was killed says police seized, damaged surveillance cameras," 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about detinue

Time Traveler for detinue

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for detinue

Cite this Entry

“Detinue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on detinue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detinue

Comments on detinue

What made you want to look up detinue? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!