[ ri-teyn ]
/ rɪˈteɪn /
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verb (used with object)
to keep possession of.
to continue to use, practice, etc.: to retain an old custom.
to continue to hold or have: to retain a prisoner in custody; a cloth that retains its color.
to keep in mind; remember.
to hold in place or position.
to engage, especially by payment of a preliminary fee: to retain a lawyer.
Medicine/Medical. to keep in the body, especially abnormally; fail to eliminate: I was referred to a specialty clinic and they discovered that I was retaining urine.
OTHER WORDS FOR retain
OPPOSITES FOR retain
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Origin of retain
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English reteinen, from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre “to hold back, hold fast,” equivalent to re- re- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre “to hold”
synonym study for retain
1. See keep.
OTHER WORDS FROM retain
re·tain·a·ble, adjectivere·tain·a·bil·i·ty [ri-tey-nuh-bil-i-tee], /rɪˌteɪ nəˈbɪl ɪ ti/, re·tain·a·ble·ness, nounre·tain·ment, nounnon·re·tain·a·ble, adjective
non·re·tain·ment, nounun·re·tain·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·tain·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use retain in a sentence
The Nationals declined the option of retaining each player for the 2021 season.Nationals decline options for Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Aníbal Sánchez and Eric Thames|Jesse Dougherty|October 28, 2020|Washington Post
Surprisingly, however, the tail, which grew a head and a brain, also retained the memory of its training.Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis - Facts So Romantic|Marco Altamirano|October 20, 2020|Nautilus
This new role will see Niya take on new responsibilities with a primary focus on the strategies and tactics that will continue to grow and retain membership subscriptions.Recent promotions announced at Digiday Media as the company focuses on growth|jim cooper|October 16, 2020|Digiday
Things like that allow us to retain our most talented employees.CEOs discuss the power of purpose|Alan Murray|October 15, 2020|Fortune
Between its own DSP and a growing number of approved SSPs, Samsung is building a closed eco-system where it’s able to retain control over how its data used and its ads sold.‘We want to be as frictionless as possible’: Samsung ramps up its pitch to advertisers across Europe|Seb Joseph|October 15, 2020|Digiday
Kent went with her obediently, but not without wondering why she had sent for him, of all the retainable lawyers in the capital.The Grafters|Francis Lynde
British Dictionary definitions for retain
/ (rɪˈteɪn) /
to keep in one's possession
to be able to hold or containsoil that retains water
(of a person) to be able to remember (information, facts, etc) without difficulty
to hold in position
to keep for one's future use, as by paying a retainer or nominal chargeto retain one's rooms for the holidays
law to engage the services of (a barrister) by payment of a preliminary fee
(in selling races) to buy back a winner that one owns when it is auctioned after the race
(of racehorse trainers) to pay an advance fee to (a jockey) so as to have prior or exclusive claims upon his services throughout the season
Derived forms of retainretainable, adjectiveretainment, noun
Word Origin for retain
C14: from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre to hold back, from re- + 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