re·​ten·​tion | \ ri-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce retention (audio) \

Definition of retention

1a : the act of retaining : the state of being retained
b : abnormal retaining of a fluid or secretion in a body cavity
2a : power of retaining : retentiveness
b : an ability to retain things in mind specifically : a preservation of the aftereffects of experience and learning that makes recall or recognition possible
3 : something retained

Examples of retention in a Sentence

the recruitment and retention of good employees the retention of profits from all sales pills to offset water retention the retention of things learned in school They say the herb promotes memory retention.
Recent Examples on the Web That might sound aggressive, if not a tad cutthroat, but showing equal and strong interest in the mental and physical health of your people is crucial to employee retention, especially. Rachel King, Fortune, 11 May 2022 If your yard is full of weeds, brown patches, or clumps of bare earth that can't seem to grow fresh grass, your lawn probably lacks important nutrients that can foster proper root growth and moisture retention. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 May 2022 The Danville resident would have faced a once-a-decade retention vote in November. Clare Spaulding, Chicago Tribune, 10 May 2022 Kamado is derived from the word for an old-style Japanese cooking vessel, and today’s grills are known for exceptional insulation and heat retention. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 Jeep spokesperson Ron Kiino said the addition of three rows has increased Grand Cherokee owner retention. Bymorgan Korn, ABC News, 8 May 2022 The Art of Giving Charitable giving has broken records in the United States in the last two years showing consistent increase both in terms of funds raised and donor retention numbers. Stephan Rabimov, Forbes, 7 May 2022 According to the company’s website, these coolers contains a good deal of insulation and provides industry-leading ice retention. Josie Howell |, al, 5 May 2022 Cognitive studies on mood and emotion in learning reveal that, regardless of the activity, taking a lighthearted approach boosts focus and retention. Kevin Johnson, Outside Online, 4 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of retention

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for retention

Middle English retencioun, from Anglo-French, from Latin retention-, retentio, from retinēre to retain — more at retain

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The first known use of retention was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Retention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for retention


re·​ten·​tion | \ ri-ˈten-shən How to pronounce retention (audio) \

Kids Definition of retention

1 : the act of continuing to possess, control, or hold moisture retention
2 : the power or ability to keep or hold something memory retention


re·​ten·​tion | \ ri-ˈten-chən How to pronounce retention (audio) \

Medical Definition of retention

1 : the act of retaining: as
a : abnormal retaining of a fluid or secretion in a body cavity retention of urine retention of bile
b : the holding in place of a tooth or dental replacement by means of a retainer
2 : a preservation of the aftereffects of experience and learning that makes recall or recognition possible


re·​ten·​tion | \ ri-ˈten-chən How to pronounce retention (audio) \

Legal Definition of retention

1 : the act of retaining or the state of being retained
2 : the portion of the insurance on a particular risk not reinsured or ceded by the originating insurer


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