Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To keep possession of; continue to have: synonym: keep.
  • transitive verb To keep in a particular place or condition.
  • transitive verb To continue to have as a feature or aspect.
  • transitive verb To keep in mind; remember.
  • transitive verb To require (a student) to repeat a class or grade because of insufficient educational progress to advance.
  • transitive verb To keep in one's service or pay.
  • transitive verb To hire (an attorney, for example) by the payment of a fee.
  • transitive verb To hire someone for (his or her services).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.

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

  • intransitive verb obsolete To belong; to pertain.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To keep; to continue; to remain.
  • transitive verb To continue to hold; to keep in possession; not to lose, part with, or dismiss; to restrain from departure, escape, or the like.
  • transitive verb To keep in pay; to employ by a preliminary fee paid; to hire; to engage.
  • transitive verb obsolete To restrain; to prevent.
  • transitive verb (Arch. & Engin.) a wall built to keep any movable backing, or a bank of sand or earth, in its place; -- called also retain wall.

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

  • verb transitive To keep in possession or use.
  • verb transitive To keep in one's pay or service.
  • verb transitive To employ by paying a retainer.
  • verb transitive To hold secure.
  • verb obsolete To belong; to pertain.

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

  • verb keep in one's mind
  • verb hold back within
  • verb secure and keep for possible future use or application
  • verb allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature

Etymologies

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

[Middle English retainen, from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre : re-, re- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French retenir, from Vulgar Latin *retinō, retinīre, from Latin retinō, retinere, from Latin re- + teneō, tenere ("to hold")

Examples

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