[ ri-ten-shuh n ]
/ rɪˈtɛn ʃən /


the act of retaining.
the state of being retained.
the power to retain; capacity for retaining.
the act or power of remembering things; memory.

Origin of retention

1350–1400; Middle English retencion < Latin retentiōn- (stem of retentiō) a keeping back, equivalent to retent(us) (past participle of retinēre to retain) + -iōn- -ion


non·re·ten·tion, nouno·ver·re·ten·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retention

British Dictionary definitions for retention

/ (rɪˈtɛnʃən) /


the act of retaining or state of being retained
the capacity to hold or retain liquid
the capacity to remember
pathol the abnormal holding within the body of urine, faeces, etc, that are normally excreted
commerce a sum of money owed to a contractor but not paid for an agreed period as a safeguard against any faults found in the work carried out
(plural) accounting profits earned by a company but not distributed as dividends; retained earnings

Word Origin for retention

C14: from Latin retentiō, from retinēre to retain
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

Medicine definitions for retention

[ rĭ-tĕnshən ]


Involuntary withholding by the body of wastes or secretions that are normally eliminated.
The holding by the body of what normally belongs in it, such as food in the stomach.
An ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced; memory.
In dentistry, a period following orthodontic treatment when a patient wears an appliance or appliances to stabilize the teeth in their new position.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.