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

When the White Sox asked for Rafael Devers in addition to Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in the deal for Sale, the Red Sox drew a line – ultimately resulting in the retention of a player who has emerged as a star., "To confront new challenges, the Red Sox sought new leadership," 10 Sep. 2019 The project includes digging the retention ponds several feet deeper and adding a new pump system. Martin E. Comas,, "Hurricane Dorian: Flooded by Irma in 2017, Orlo Vista spared this time," 4 Sep. 2019 Buy now: $26 at Step 9: Milk Cooling Water Eye Patches Consuming salty snacks and sitting in the same position for a long period of time can cause water retention, which in turn makes your body bloated and your skin puffy. Andrea Cheng, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Skin Care Routine For Your Next Flight: A Step-By-Step Guide," 30 Aug. 2019 In return, the firm pledged the retention of 160 jobs and the creation of an additional 235 positions. Jeff Pillets, ProPublica, "A Huge Tax Break Went to a Politically Connected Company in New Jersey Despite Red Flags," 5 July 2019 Often, domestic animals, in contrast to their wild counterparts, exhibit a feature known as neoteny—the retention of juvenile traits like soft fur, floppy ears, and bigger heads relative to their body size. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Domesticated animals, explained," 4 July 2019 Ham, Bruvold added, was instrumental in helping to build the Innovate 78 initiative which got all five cities along the State Route 78 corridor to collaborate on business retention and recruitment strategies. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Vista economic development director wins prestigious award," 26 Aug. 2019 The complaint focuses charges on the school for negligent supervision, negligent retention and negligent failure to provide a safe and secure environment. Madeleine Thompson, CNN, "Former students allege Yeshiva school ignored 'vicious and sadistic' abuse," 25 Aug. 2019 Lincoln High School Principal Peyton Chapman said the district needs to improve teacher retention and that a loss of funding would exacerbate the problem., "Portland schools leaders will ask voters to extend tax levy for teachers in November," 7 Aug. 2019

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

13 Sep 2019

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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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Comments on retention

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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