from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.
  • transitive verb To keep in custody or confinement.
  • transitive verb Archaic To retain or withhold (payment or property, for example).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Detention.
  • To keep back or away; withhold; specifically, to keep or retain unjustly.
  • To keep or restrain from proceeding; stay or stop: as, we were detained by the rain.
  • In law, to hold in custody.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Detention.
  • transitive verb To keep back or from; to withhold.
  • transitive verb To restrain from proceeding; to stay or stop; to delay.
  • transitive verb To hold or keep in custody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Keep (someone) from proceeding by holding them back or making claims on their attention.
  • verb transitive To put under custody.

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

  • verb deprive of freedom; take into confinement
  • verb stop or halt
  • verb cause to be slowed down or delayed


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

[Middle English deteinen, from Old French detenir, from Vulgar Latin *dētenīre, from Latin dētinēre : dē-, de- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]


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