- to keep from proceeding; keep waiting; delay.
- to keep under restraint or in custody.
- Obsolete. to keep back or withhold, as from a person.
Origin of detain
1480–90; detainen < Anglo-French, Old French detenir < Vulgar Latin *dētenīre, for Latin dētinēre, equivalent to dē- de- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold
SynonymsSee more synonyms for detain on Thesaurus.com
1. retard, stop, slow, stay, check.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for detainment
While many are outraged at the detainment of Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts, not all are shocked.The Ongoing Stigma of Interracial Dating
September 15, 2014
Her detainment seems to have strengthened her determination.Teen Activist Speaks Out On Rape In Syria’s Prisons
March 10, 2013
See the latest updates, including the detainment of three U.S. students.Egypt's Army Vows Speedy Power Transfer
November 21, 2011
Given the detainment of journalists in Libya, will that deter other journalists from heading into dangerous zones?March 20: 7 Best Moments From Sunday Talk
The Daily Beast Video
March 20, 2011
She disputed news reports suggesting that Assange was living in fear of arrest or detainment by U.S. authorities.Pentagon Snubs Leaker's Lawyers
June 18, 2010
- to delay; hold back; stop
- to confine or hold in custody; restrain
- archaic to retain or withhold
C15: from Old French detenir, from Latin dētinēre to hold off, keep back, from de- + tenēre to hold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for detainment
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper