retain

verb
re·​tain | \ ri-ˈtān How to pronounce retain (audio) \
retained; retaining; retains

Definition of retain

transitive verb

1a : to keep in possession or use
b : to keep in one's pay or service specifically : to employ by paying a retainer
c : to keep in mind or memory : remember
2 : to hold secure or intact

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Synonyms & Antonyms for retain

Synonyms

hold, keep, reserve, withhold

Antonyms

give up, hand over, release, relinquish, surrender, yield

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Choose the Right Synonym for retain

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control. keep this while I'm gone retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss. managed to retain their dignity even in poverty detain suggests a delay in letting go. detained them for questioning withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go. withheld information from the authorities reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use. reserve some of your energy for the last mile

Examples of retain in a Sentence

A landlord may retain part of your deposit if you break the lease. They insisted on retaining old customs. You will retain your rights as a citizen. The TV show has retained its popularity for many years. The company's goal is to attract and retain good employees. The team failed to retain him, and he became a free agent. They have decided to retain a firm to conduct a survey. You may need to retain an attorney.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Hill stations, a quaint term for the holiday destinations in or near the mountains, are a colonial legacy that India is quite happy to retain. Payal Dhar, Washington Post, "Keep your cool in India by visiting one of the country’s hill stations," 5 July 2019 There are still questions as to whether or not women will be allowed to retain the growth earned during the past 121 months. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "In 2019, Black And Brown Women Dominate The Job Force," 4 July 2019 The right-hander, who has a 4.73 ERA in 16 games, is expected to retain his spot after the All-Star break. Mike Digiovanna, latimes.com, "Griffin Canning struggles in game Tyler Skaggs had been scheduled to start," 4 July 2019 The arrests appeared to deal a blow to the protesters’ efforts to retain the moral high ground in their dispute with authorities. Mike Ives, BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong protesters take stock after arrests and China’s condemnation," 3 July 2019 For example, the guidance advises companies to retain key documents in the course of their internal investigation. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "France Moves Toward U.S. Model By Endorsing Corporate-Led Investigations," 2 July 2019 Last week, Nicole DeBorde filed a motion to withdraw from the case just a week after the state's top court thwarted the special prosecutors' attempts to retain their $300-an-hour pay rate. Dallas News, "Castro riding debate wave, redistricting, census rulings could affect Texas, Paxton prosecutor wants out," 2 July 2019 Another model could be allowing animators to retain the rights to their drawings and earn royalties. Eric Margolis, Vox, "The dark side of Japan’s anime industry," 2 July 2019 Victory intended to retain 300 USAA Asset Management employees and create 50 additional jobs paying an average base salary of $96,000. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "Victory Capital completes purchase of USAA’s asset management business," 1 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retain.' 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 retain

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for retain

Middle English reteinen, retainen, from Anglo-French retenir, reteigner, from Latin retinēre to hold back, restrain, from re- + tenēre to hold — more at thin

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Statistics for retain

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retain

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

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More Definitions for retain

retain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of retain

formal
: to continue to have or use (something)
: to keep (someone) in a position, job, etc.
: to pay for the work of (a person or business)

retain

verb
re·​tain | \ ri-ˈtān How to pronounce retain (audio) \
retained; retaining

Kids Definition of retain

1 : to keep or continue to use They retain old customs.
2 : to hold safe or unchanged Lead retains heat.
re·​tain | \ ri-ˈtān How to pronounce retain (audio) \

Medical Definition of retain

1 : to hold or keep in retain fluids
2 : to keep in mind or memory

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re·​tain | \ ri-ˈtān How to pronounce retain (audio) \

Legal Definition of retain

1 : to keep in possession or use
2 : to keep in one's pay or service specifically : to employ (as a lawyer) by paying a retainer

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More from Merriam-Webster on retain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retain

Spanish Central: Translation of retain

Nglish: Translation of retain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retain for Arabic Speakers

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