Definition of retainer in English:



  • 1A thing that holds something in place.

    ‘a guitar string retainer’
    • ‘The lens is held in place with a retainer ring instead of a bezel.’
    • ‘The cartridge may be held in place with a threaded ring or a retainer clip.’
    • ‘On the other side of the road, there was a log retainer wall.’
    1. 1.1 An appliance for keeping a loose tooth, an orthodontic prosthesis, or orthodontically aligned teeth in place.
      • ‘I rolled out of bed at six and shuffled to the bathroom to brush my teeth, clean and put away my retainers, and wash my face in a pitiful attempt to wake up.’
      • ‘After the braces are off, your child may have to wear a retainer.’
      • ‘I just wore a retainer for six months or so and everything was fine.’
      • ‘After I hung up with Dan, I changed into sleep clothes as I called them, brushed my teeth, put my retainer on, and snuggled under the three down comforters.’
      • ‘He looks even better now with that single bang of silver from his retainer, gliding beautifully over pristine white teeth.’
  • 2A fee paid in advance to someone, especially a barrister, in order to secure their services for use when required.

    ‘he's on a retainer as a consultant’
    • ‘In addition, annual retainers would be paid half in cash and half in stock.’
    • ‘His remuneration included a €7,500 once-off retainer and an attendance fee of €250 per half day commitment, according to the Department of Finance.’
    • ‘They've gone about this in two primary ways: paying all or part of directors' annual retainers in company stock and making one-time or annual stock or option grants to directors.’
    • ‘The problem with annual grants or paying annual retainers in stock is that it takes several years for the holdings to become substantial.’
    • ‘Brian Bennett, financial recruitment consultant with HRM Recruitment Group, said some banks paid retainers or completion bonuses to get employees to finish a project.’
    • ‘Usually, this payment was in addition to an annual retainer.’
    • ‘The annual fee of $2,500 is a bargain when compared to the monthly retainer plus commission required for full representation.’
    • ‘Many finders also charge retainers, and flat fees aren't unheard of.’
    • ‘‘Then,’ he says, ‘they put us on a retainer, which was about five grand a month, which doesn't really go that far.’’
    • ‘A solicitor who accepts a retainer owes a duty of care to his client.’
    • ‘And on the corporate side, it acts as broker or adviser to more than 100 smaller companies, each of which pays the broker an annual retainer plus fee income on corporate finance deals.’
    • ‘The King brothers also structured their initial contracts so clients would pay a retainer.’
    • ‘He said that the use of local sales agents on a commission basis with or without a retainer or contribution to overheads is a very normal way to do business in most European countries.’
    • ‘This type of business requires having a lawyer on retainer.’
    • ‘Bolger suggests that most people don't have enough legal concerns to keep an attorney on retainer.’
    • ‘If I'm going to spend three hours meeting with a client on site or in my office, the retainer must be provided first.’
    • ‘Companies that work on retainers usually get the bulk of their fee before the search is complete.’
    • ‘All I need from you now is details of the bank account you want the retainers paid into.’
    • ‘Fees may be charged as a percent of assets under management, hourly rates, flat fees, retainers, bundled fees, negotiated fees, single engagements or in a number of other ways.’
    • ‘Similarly in Morton, the controversy involved a dispute over the terms of the solicitor's retainer.’
    retaining fee, fee, periodic payment, partial payment, deposit, advance, subscription, standing charge
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    1. 2.1British A reduced rent paid to retain accommodation during a period of non-occupancy.
      • ‘Your property owner may want a retainer to reserve your room for you over the summer.’
      • ‘A retainer is a reduced rent and is paid by students to landlords to ensure that the accommodation is reserved for the new academic session, and that the landlord does not enter into any other contract that could affect the availability of the property.’
  • 3A servant, especially one who has worked for a person or family for a long time.

    ‘faithful family retainers’
    • ‘Ostensibly, this hallway's purpose was to allow the guests' personal retainers discreet but easy access to the rooms for which they were responsible.’
    • ‘The Geneat was a retainer, usually mounted, whose services were those befitting a free man - escorting, guarding, running errands, and at harvest time, working in the fields.’
    • ‘The retainers, led by Chamberlain Oishi, resolve to avenge their lord's death and restore honor to his house, biding their time until the opportunity presents itself.’
    • ‘The lift-house was manned: a family retainer had taken the place of the liftman.’
    • ‘He was a prominent figure in Stratford-upon-Avon, with a household of about 40 servants and retainers.’
    • ‘Fuelling him, beneath the image of the loyal retainer, was a fiery ambition.’
    • ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Bourchier, apparently had charge of the boys for a time, but Richard was later entrusted to the Earl of Warwick, whose lavish household was said to support 20,000 retainers.’
    • ‘In order to force these territorial lords to do military service fiefs were granted from the already existing public domain, and in their turn the great lords granted part of these fiefs to their retainers.’
    • ‘Cash-poor, he is without the means to repair it, and maintains his household with just one domestic servant, Lao Huang, an old retainer from his late father's time.’
    • ‘Second, even those branches of the military households registered in garrisons engaged in a wide variety of economic activities, ranging from small businesses, to acting as personal retainers, to brigandage.’
    • ‘The realization that others did not love Father as his family and retainers clearly did was a slow one coming to Johnny.’
    • ‘She is cared for by a loyal family retainer and rarely leaves the house.’
    • ‘You will use it to hire several retainers, three bodyguards, and a housekeeping staff.’
    • ‘Originally livery referred to the special clothing of retainers and servants, but later the term became associated with distinctive costumes for grand occasions worn by high-ranking members of the companies.’
    • ‘Classical texts suggest that feasts involving a chieftain and his retinue were held in a circle around a central hearth or fireplace, with the alcoholic beverage circulating either in a common cup or being served by retainers.’
    • ‘Koizumi was born in Shizuoka as the son of a former retainer of the Tokugawa family which had ruled Japan with an iron fist until the last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned in 1867.’
    • ‘The effect on the city of Edo was a permanent presence of noblemen and samurai with a huge staff of retainers, attendants and servants.’
    • ‘It is the chief who is the lynchpin of the whole system, employing craft specialists, and redistributing to his retainers and subjects the offerings of crafts and foodstuffs that are periodically paid to him (it is usually a he).’
    • ‘There was a single moat surrounding the castle at the base of the mountain, and a drawbridge was continually being let down to let the samurai and retainers ride across to Shintaku.’
    • ‘A silver pipe shows a wedding procession of mice, which is a parody on the procession of armed human retainers escorting a bride-to-be to her future home.’
    attendant, follower, servant, hireling, hanger-on, escort, minion, lackey, flunkey, vassal, dependant, domestic, valet, footman
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