Definition of "detain" []

  • To keep from proceeding; delay or retard. (verb-transitive)
  • To keep in custody or temporary confinement: The police detained several suspects for questioning. The disruptive students were detained after school until their parents had been notified. (verb-transitive)
  • Obsolete To retain or withhold (payment or property, for example). (verb-transitive)
  • To delay; hold back; stop (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To confine or hold in custody; restrain (verb)
  • To retain or withhold (verb) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "detain" in a sentence
  • "Please note that the position of the Bush-Cheney cabal has been that anybody they detain is * not* a POW, but a, well, ... ah, ‘terrorist’, in a ..... well, not a war, except as they say itis."
  • "Even if the initial decision to detain is legally valid, for how long should detention last?"
  • "Over the past eight years, we have seen the government over and over again detain men as “terrorists,” only to discover later that the evidence was weak, wrong or nonexistent."