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

Family owners of Portland’s Alpenrose Dairy plan to sell the business to a Seattle-area company after a century of operation while retaining the land where the dairy sits and where community events have flourished for years. oregonlive.com, "Alpenrose Dairy, a SW Portland institution, readies sale; opposing family owners sue to block it," 16 Aug. 2019 With calm largely restored to the airport and the city in something of a lull Thursday, the protest movement is discussing how to reign its worst impulses in, while retaining the flexibility and inventiveness of its leaderless roots. James Griffiths, CNN, "Mob violence tests the limits of Hong Kong's leaderless protest movement," 15 Aug. 2019 Their deal will contain an accompanying schedule that indicates deadlines for attorneys and banking institutions retained by Tsai and Prokhorov to complete related tasks. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Behind the Numbers: Analyzing Joseph Tsai's Proposal to Own the Brooklyn Nets," 15 Aug. 2019 Mathewson has overseen the operations of the rink for 25 years and was retained by ASEC when the company took over this year. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, "Renovated Pickwick ice rink is ready for puck drop," 9 Aug. 2019 How many of the nearly 2,000 Anadarko workers in The Woodlands will be retained by Occidental? Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Oxy completes $38B acquisition of Anadarko to close mega deal," 8 Aug. 2019 Foreman, 6-1 and 235 pounds, must do so to be retained by the Colts. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "D'Onta Foreman, once college football's top running back, starts over with Colts," 6 Aug. 2019 Novotny announced on Facebook this week that he was not retained by the theme-park company. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Longtime Disney race announcer’s contract not renewed," 6 Aug. 2019 The question remains: Can New Harmony thrive while retaining a connection to its utopian roots? Diana Budds, Curbed, "This small Indiana town is a hotbed of utopianism," 5 Aug. 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

19 Aug 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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