[ det-n-oo, -yoo ]
/ ˈdɛt nˌu, -ˈyu /

noun Law.

an old commonlaw form of action to recover possession of personal property wrongfully detained.

Origin of detinue

1425–75; late Middle English detenu < Anglo-French detenue, detinue detention, orig. feminine past participle of detenir to detain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for detinue

  • The use of the action of trover gradually supplants the action of detinue, which involves compurgation.

  • In the manor courts, actions of debt, detinue, and covenant were frequent.

  • Detinue, in law, the form of action whereby a plaintiff seeks to recover a chattel personal unlawfully detained.

  • Detinue, the primitive remedy, retained that mark of primitive procedure.

    The Common Law|Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

British Dictionary definitions for detinue

/ (ˈdɛtɪˌnjuː) /


law an action brought by a plaintiff to recover goods wrongfully detained

Word Origin for detinue

C15: from Old French detenue, from detenir to detain
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