Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

detain

[dih-teyn]
See more synonyms for detain on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to keep from proceeding; keep waiting; delay.
  2. to keep under restraint or in custody.
  3. Obsolete. to keep back or withhold, as from a person.
Show More

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
Related formsde·tain·a·ble, adjectivede·tain·ment, nounpre·de·tain, verb (used with object)un·de·tain·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·tained, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

confinementholdimprisonmentholdingcustodyholduppostponement

Examples from the Web for detainment

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • By 13th October the detainment of this new Army was in full progress west and south-west of Brussels.

    Ypres 1914

    Otto Schwink

  • He had been certain what the purpose of the detainment was, and who the inspector would be, yet he had not really been worried.

    Star Surgeon

    Alan Nourse


British Dictionary definitions for detainment

detain

verb (tr)
  1. to delay; hold back; stop
  2. to confine or hold in custody; restrain
  3. archaic to retain or withhold
Show More
Derived Formsdetainable, adjectivedetainee (ˌdiːteɪˈniː), noundetainment, noun

Word Origin

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

detain

v.

early 15c., deteynen, from Old French detenir "to hold off, keep back" (12c.), from Latin detinere "hold off, keep back," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Modern spelling is 17c., from influence of contain, retain, etc. Related: Detained; detaining.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper