Definitions

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

  • n. A catch or lever that locks the movement of one part of a mechanism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. That which locks or unlocks a movement; a catch, pawl, or dog; especially, in clockwork, the catch which locks and unlocks the wheelwork in striking.
  • v. The action of creating a detent mechanism to lock or unlock movement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which locks or unlocks a movement; a catch, pawl, or dog; especially, in clockwork, the catch which locks and unlocks the wheelwork in striking.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Anything used to check or prevent motion or approach; a catch; specifically, a pin, stud, or lever forming a check in a clock, watch, tumbler-lock, or other machine.

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

  • n. a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward

Etymologies

French détente, a loosening, from Old French destente, from feminine past participle of destendre, to release : des-, de- + tendre, to stretch (from Latin tendere; see ten- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French détente, from Latin tendere ("to stretch"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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