Definitions

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

  • adjective Having the quality, power, or capacity of retaining.
  • adjective Having the ability or capacity to retain knowledge or information with ease.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Serving to hold or confine; restraining; confining.
  • Retaining; having the power to keep or preserve: as, a body retentive of heat or of magnetism; the retentive force of the stomach.
  • Specifically, in psychology, retaining presentations or ideas; capable of preserving mental presentations.
  • noun That which restrains or confines; a restraint.

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

  • adjective Having power to retain.
  • noun rare That which retains or confines; a restraint.

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

  • adjective Having power to retain; as, a retentive memory.
  • noun obsolete That which retains or confines; a restraint.

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

  • adjective having the capacity to retain something
  • adjective having the power, capacity, or quality of retaining water
  • adjective good at remembering

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Perhaps I simply need to stop being so … "retentive".

    CommunityWiki: RecentChanges

  • He's not obliged to like her ” some people don't, as he points out ” but it is only fair to let your readers know that she has a thoroughly first-rate mind (not just "jaggedly sharp") and a phenomenal (not merely "retentive") memory.

    Life with Picasso

  • KCNA says: It, with effects of both preventive and curative treatment, helps improve mental and retentive faculties by multiplying brain cells.

    North Korea Hails New ‘Anti-Ageing Super Drink’ | Impact Lab

  • This, on the other hand, I read because I wanted to see how it came out, not because I spell anal-retentive with the hyphen in.

    Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway

  • Away from anal retentive questions of legal formalism, does anyone give a damn as to whether or not it is right/moral/proper for the govt to effectively seize one-sixth of the economy over the clear unambiguous disapproval of the electorate?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Would “Deem & Pass” Survive Judicial Review?

  • If my inbox shows more than 60 emails sitting there waiting to be answered or taken care of in some way, I get very anxious (yes, I'm a bit anal-retentive).

    Is "E-Clutter" a Word? - SpouseBUZZ

  • Such high standards are an impossibility, therefore, the pushing for that "perfection" creates fake, frustrated, anal retentive, "just for the picture" kind of mothers that become so involved in what they're supposed to be that they forget to love their children.

    The Bad Mother Manifesto | Her Bad Mother

  • In fact, these wires are not just twisted together in a sensible, civilized manner, they are wound tight enough to make an anal-retentive boy-scout proud, and then they are doubled over and twisted again.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • She's a dictionary fan who even coined the joke, "Does 'anal-retentive' have a hyphen?" back in 1990.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • In fact, these wires are not just twisted together in a sensible, civilized manner, they are wound tight enough to make an anal-retentive boy-scout proud, and then they are doubled over and twisted again.

    State of Play

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