Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that retains, as a device, frame, or groove that restrains or guides.
  • n. Dentistry An appliance used to hold teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.
  • n. An employee, typically a long-term employee.
  • n. A servant or an attendant, especially one in the household of a person of high rank.
  • n. The act of engaging the services of a professional adviser, such as an attorney, counselor, or consultant.
  • n. The fee paid to retain a professional adviser.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dependent or follower of someone of rank.
  • n. A paid servant, especially one who has been employed for many years.
  • n. Any thing or person that retains.
  • n. A fee one pays to reserve the other's time for services.
  • n. : A device that holds teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, retains.
  • n. One who is retained or kept in service; an attendant; an adherent; a hanger-on.
  • n. Hence, a servant, not a domestic, but occasionally attending and wearing his master's livery.
  • n.
  • n. The act of a client by which he engages a lawyer or counselor to manage his cause.
  • n. The act of withholding what one has in his hands by virtue of some right.
  • n. A fee paid to engage a lawyer or counselor to maintain a cause, or to prevent his being employed by the opposing party in the case; -- called also retaining fee.
  • n. The act of keeping dependents, or the state of being in dependence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who or that which retains.
  • n. One who is kept in service; a dependent; an attendant; especially, a follower who wears his master's livery, but ranks higher than a domestic.
  • n. A sutler, camp-follower, or any person serving with an army who, though not enlisted, is subject to orders according to the rules and articles of war.
  • n. One who is connected with or frequents a certain place; an attendant.
  • n. The act of retaining dependents; entrance into service as a retainer; the state of being a retainer.
  • n. That by which a person's services are secured; a fee.
  • n. Specifically, in law:
  • n. Same as retaining fee (which see, under fee).
  • n. An authority given to an attorney or a solicitor to proceed in an action
  • n. The unlawful taking or detention of a known servant from his master during the period of service.
  • n. The act of an executor or administrator who is a creditor of the decedent, or whose estate he represents, in withholding from the fund so much as will pay what is due him: formerly allowed to be done even before any other creditors whose debts were of equal degree were paid.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fee charged in advance to retain the services of someone
  • n. a person working in the service of another (especially in the household)
  • n. a dental appliance that holds teeth (or a prosthesis) in position after orthodontic treatment

Etymologies

From retain, from French retenir ("to retain"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Cotner, of Corporate Intelligence Consultants, said he has repaid the Cleveland schools for what he described as a retainer meant as advance payment for consulting services.

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  • Your kid's retainer is cracked in two because he won't use it and left it strewn someplace where he stepped on it.

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  • Not every breach of the contract of retainer is a breach of a fiduciary duty.

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  • The adjuster is most likely a local guy on retainer from the rental company (and many other insurance companies).

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  • It's unclear what Palin meant by the word retainer to describe her upfront book payment.

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  • # posted by Scott: 10: 22 AM bart you're as predictable as the sun rising in the east-are you on retainer from the administration?

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  • Fortas had accepted a $20,000 retainer from the family foundation of Wall Street financier Louis Wolfson, a friend and former client, in January 1966. [

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  • Highly specialized strategy/solution development (A) and long term retainer based outsourcing (B)

    Ordinary is abundant.

  • You'll be asked to sign a contract and to return it with a retainer (a retainer is a portion of the total cost for the project that must be paid up front before any work begins).

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  • Right now the idea of a cash only practice -- be it fee-for-service or prepaid; so-called retainer medicine -- is just beginning to take hold.

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