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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Brittle, damaged hair gets in the way of length retention, weakens strands, and limits your style versatility. Lara Adekola, Teen Vogue, "How to Grow Your Natural Hair," 2 Jan. 2019 The rule, known as risk retention, now doesn’t apply to CLO managers. Cezary Podkul, WSJ, "Hedge Funds Revive the Junk Bond CDO," 7 Nov. 2018 The order also directs Greitens to provide phone numbers and other details about the devices, which would allow the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging violations of the state records-retention law to request information from Confide. David A. Lieb,, "Outgoing Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signs 'revenge porn' law," 1 June 2018 Her face swelled up due to immunosuppressant drugs, and fluid retention caused her blood pressure to spike enough to damage her vision, which already wasn’t great. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Sarah Hyland Opens Up About Dialysis and Her Second Kidney Transplant," 10 Dec. 2018 In April, Terry Albury, a former counter-terrorism agent at the FBI, pleaded guilty to two counts — unlawful transmission and retention of national defense information — and prosecutors recommended a sentence of three to five years in prison. Jenny Jarvie,, "Reality Winner, the ex-NSA contractor accused of leaking secrets, pleads guilty," 27 June 2018 The primary voting also appeared to leave in doubt who will be sitting on the county’s Circuit Court bench following the November general election, as neither sitting judge on Tuesday’s ballot received a clear path to retention. The Aegis, "Peisinger takes GOP state's attorney nod in Harford; Glassman, Vincenti also win primary bids," 27 June 2018 The risks of such transactions can hinge on talent retention. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "Companies Use Deals to Buy New Skills in Battle to Spur Growth," 23 Jan. 2019 While Instagram wants to entice creators away from YouTube with its own long-form video platform, YouTube is focusing on retention—and one of the best ways to do that is to support creators with new money-making features. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "YouTube now lets you pay $4.99 per month to support your favorite creators [Update]," 22 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for retention

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retention

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

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English Language Learners Definition of retention

: the act of keeping someone or something
: the act of keeping extra liquid, heat, etc., inside the body
: the ability to keep something


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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on retention

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retention

Spanish Central: Translation of retention

Nglish: Translation of retention for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retention for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about retention

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