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

  • noun The act of retaining or the condition of being retained.
  • noun The practice of requiring a student to repeat a class or a year of school because of insufficient educational progress to advance.
  • noun The ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced; memory.
  • noun The inability of a person or animal to eliminate a bodily waste.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of retaining or keeping back; restraint; reserve.
  • noun The act of retaining or holding as one's own; continued possession or ownership.
  • noun Continuance or perseverance, as in the use or practice of anything; preservation.
  • noun The act of retaining or keeping in mind; especially, that activity of the mind by which it retains ideas; the retentive faculty: often used as synonymous with memory.
  • noun Hence That which retains impressions, as a tablet.
  • noun In medicine:
  • noun The power of retaining, as in the stomach or bladder; inability to void or discharge: as, the retention of food or medicine by the stomach; retention of urine.
  • noun Hence— A morbid accumulation of solid or liquid matter in vessels of the body or cavities intended to contain it only for a time.
  • noun The state of being confined; custody; confinement.
  • noun In Scots law, a lien; the right of withholding a debt or retaining property until a debt due to the person claiming this right is duly paid.
  • noun Synonyms Reservation, preservation. See keep.

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

  • noun The act of retaining, or the state of being ratined.
  • noun The power of retaining; retentiveness.
  • noun rare That which contains something, as a tablet; a ���� of preserving impressions.
  • noun The act of withholding; retraint; reserve.
  • noun Place of custody or confinement.
  • noun (Law) The right of withholding a debt, or of retaining property until a debt due to the person claiming the right be duly paid; a lien.
  • noun (Med.) a cyst produced by obstruction of a duct leading from a secreting organ and the consequent retention of the natural secretions.

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

  • noun The act of retaining or something retained
  • noun The act or power of remembering things
  • noun A memory, what is retained in the mind
  • noun medicine The involuntary withholding of urine and faeces

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

  • noun the power of retaining and recalling past experience
  • noun the power of retaining liquid
  • noun the act of retaining something


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

[Middle English retencioun, from Old French retention, from Latin retentiō, retentiōn-, from retentus, past participle of retinēre, to retain; see retain.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English retencioun, from Latin retentiō, from retentus, the perfect passive participle of retineō ("retain") (from re- ("back, again") + teneō ("hold, keep")).


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  • The most critical step in retention is the analysis in which an informed judgment is made as to whether or not the communications or other data seized is foreign intelligence information.

    Minimize Me! 2008

  • In the third quarter, when the financing company was hard hit by the freeze in credit markets, it paid executives $28 million in what it called retention payments to make up for the shriveled value of their long-term incentive plans.

    TARP Puts the Brakes on GMAC Executives' Pay 2009

  • Data retention is a crucial element of surveillance.

    Balkinization 2006

  • On top of that, a city official tells CNN, Houston streets are designed to be what he calls retention ponds, places to hold water when drainage ditches and channels overflow so that homes and other buildings won't get flooded.

    CNN Transcript Sep 22, 2005 2005

  • The true reason in my mind SL hasnt had a higher retention is the absolutly confusing orientation centre starts award program most get stuck in orientation forever, then when you do pass they drop you in a welcome centre where not one linden employee is present, many in the community go there to help and of course to increase traffic and knowledge of thier places but honestly secondlife needs to hold the newbies hands a little better in the beginning and I bet you more than 1/2 that usualy quit would stay.

    Philip Rosedale Answers Your Second Life Questions - Freakonomics Blog - 2007

  • Layoff and retention is based on seniority, not on performance.

    Council Gives 12 Percent Raises to Five Managers « PubliCola 2010

  • Chicks and water retention is a hellish confounding business.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Burger Lite 5 March 2010

  • If students do self-test, it is often to assess what they've learned, rather than to enhance their long-term retention of the material.

    How to maximise your memory 2012

  • They are furious over $165 million in retention bonuses paid last Friday by federal welfare client AIG.

    The Obama Market 2009

  • They are furious over $165 million in retention bonuses paid last Friday by federal welfare client AIG.

    Stromata Blog: 2009


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  • "The term used by online marketers to describe the efforts of a company to keep their customer or client from defecting to the competition." --Webopedia

    June 26, 2009