American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To maintain possession of. See Synonyms at keep.
- v. To keep or hold in a particular place, condition, or position.
- v. To keep in mind; remember.
- v. To hire (an attorney, for example) by the payment of a fee.
- v. To keep in one's service or pay.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To hold back; restrain; hinder from action, departure, or escape; keep back; detain.
- To hold or keep in possession; reserve as one's own.
- To continue in the use or practice of; preserve; keep up; keep from dying out: as, to retain a custom; to retain an appearance of youth.
- To keep in mind; preserve a knowledge or idea of; remember.
- To keep in pay; hire; take into service; especially, to engage by the payment of a preliminary fee: as, to retain counsel.
- To entertain.
- =Syn. 2–4. Reserve, Preserve, etc. See keep.
- To keep on: continue.
- To pertain; belong; be a dependent or retainer.
- v. transitive To keep in possession or use.
- v. transitive To keep in one's pay or service.
- v. transitive To employ by paying a retainer.
- v. transitive To hold secure.
- v. obsolete To belong; to pertain.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To continue to hold; to keep in possession; not to lose, part with, or dismiss; to restrain from departure, escape, or the like.
- v. To keep in pay; to employ by a preliminary fee paid; to hire; to engage.
- v. obsolete To restrain; to prevent.
- v. obsolete To belong; to pertain.
- v. obsolete To keep; to continue; to remain.
- v. keep in one's mind
- v. hold back within
- v. secure and keep for possible future use or application
- v. allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature
- From French retenir, from Vulgar Latin *retinō, retinīre, from Latin retinō, retinere, from Latin re- + teneō, tenere ("to hold") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English retainen, from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre : re-, re- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But when half the drivers on the road are "car thieves," does the term retain its meaning?”
“I read over 100 books a year, and what I retain is usually the general storyline and my impression of the characters.”
“While Ariel worked on the page designs, we talked about the content – what to retain from the old site, what to add and what to discard.”
“The natural acidity that cool evenings and long, slow growing seasons retain is key.”
“It takes a lot of work and dedication to make this kind of thing happen, and so in some senses that 85% that they retain is a bet that the best ideas that come in will actually be lucrative enough to offset their efforts in organizing the contest.”
“What has made her name retain its magic for decades?”
“The only words in the English language, in which _h_ is written, but not pronounced, are words derived from Latin through the French; but of these, many in English retain the aspirate, though in French nearly all lose it.”
“[8: 15] But that on the good ground signifies those who, with a noble and good heart, hearing the word retain it, and bear fruit persistently.”
“Non minor est virtus quam quoerere parta tueri -- To retain is sometimes as difficult as to acquire.”
“With Robot poised to woo audiences this month, Pooja Pillai wonders if South Indian movies dubbed in Hindi, retain their appeal in the age of remakes”
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