Definition of retention in English:



mass noun
  • 1The continued possession, use, or control of something.

    ‘the retention of direct control by central government’
    • ‘These initiatives will improve our retention of nurses, have a positive domino effect on recruitment, and, over time, reduce dependency on agency and overseas nurses.’
    • ‘The most common rationale for war was acquisition or retention of territory.’
    • ‘While the historical significance of most of these buildings is undeniable, their retention, preservation, and renovation are at odds with the mission of the facility and the state agency operating it.’
    • ‘The auditor general criticized the government's apparent unreadiness to undertake the required recruitment and retention of qualified staff.’
    • ‘Selective retention would include a plan to keep employees in the top three groups.’
    • ‘Foliage color, needle length, needle retention, stem straightness, shape and density are among the important factors influencing one's final choice of a Christmas tree.’
    • ‘The chapter was honored for its active recruitment and retention of members; and for its sponsorship of organized events for members and non - members.’
    • ‘‘Most investors are very resentful of the continued retention of their property at a cost,’ said Shorten.’
    • ‘This has led to concerns that labor retention and labor productivity are not at optimum levels, resulting in high turnover, depressed profits, and low farm wages.’
    • ‘Projects must meet a specific physical test for retention of existing walls and internal structural framework.’
    • ‘Data warehousing, legal considerations and government regulations require longterm data retention.’
    • ‘The department is due to complete the public consultation process on data retention by the end of this month.’
    • ‘As the number one form of business communication, it is necessary to manage e-mail as an important business process and address its needs for retention, disposition and accessibility.’
    • ‘Once again, due to the tight labor market, a major challenge in 2000 will be in the area of staff retention, training and recruitment.’
    • ‘Internal promotions continue to rise as firms place greater emphasis on staff retention.’
    • ‘What we must do is significantly improve our ball retention and make sure our kicking game is perfect.’
    • ‘In 1972, after liberation, the tribal people asked for autonomy, with a separate legislative body, and a retention of the 1900 Regulations against non-tribal settlers.’
    • ‘On the one hand, the Alliance has, as noted earlier, resulted in a continuing emphasis being placed on service delivery and on the retention of a broad body of labour friendly legislation.’
    • ‘The post-industrial broadcast user demands audio and video programmes that are streamed over extended periods and available, the world over, for instant download and possible retention as part of a private collection.’
    • ‘Equally important to strength maintenance are programs that would reduce attrition while enhancing retention of trained soldiers.’
    1. 1.1 The fact of keeping something in one's memory.
      ‘the children's retention of facts’
      • ‘‘Just one administration of the drug resulted in very potent memory retention,’ which may last as long as 21 days, he says.’
      • ‘Previous experiences in similar fields have been found to affect academic performance and retention in college agricultural and non-agricultural programs to varying degrees.’
      • ‘While a movie fades over time, two hours of consumption leads to a lot of immediate retention.’
      • ‘She possessed the ability to read at lightning speed and had near photographic memory retention whenever she was actually paying attention.’
      • ‘Future research should include studies to reveal language acquisition or learning comprehension and retention when using weblogs.’
      • ‘Processing speed doesn't matter in the brain, says Hawkins, because the basis of thought is not data manipulation but memory retention and prediction.’
      • ‘Ezekiel waved his arms, as if the gesture aided in memory retention.’
      • ‘Metrical speech not only produces some heightened form of attention that increases mnemonic retention; it also seems to provide innate physical pleasure in both the auditor and orator.’
      • ‘Selective retention occurs when an individual remembers only those aspects of the message perceived as being necessary to the receiver.’
      • ‘As expected, all questions showed a decrease (negative percentage) in knowledge retention from the first posttest to the delayed-posttest.’
      • ‘Mr. Lorry asks if the retention of the thing might not lead to the retention of the ideas that plague him and cause his shock.’
      • ‘Such a quid-pro-quo method, Arnold complained, turned school inspectors into wage laborers mechanically examining each student on his or her passive retention of knowledge.’
      • ‘Nearly all cases of exceptional memory are domain-specific, and retention of sequences or arrays of digits is the most common locus.’
      • ‘Do you hold store in ‘knowledge’ or retention of facts as an identifier to intellectual ability?’
      • ‘The acquisition of knowledge, its retention, and measurable learning will all be greatly enhanced through careful and thoughtful utilization of true experiential learning concepts.’
      ability to remember, powers of recall, recall, powers of retention, mind
      View synonyms
  • 2The action of absorbing and continuing to hold a substance.

    ‘the soil's retention of moisture’
    • ‘According to president Ed Snodgrass, these plants provide maximum groundcover, water retention, erosion resistance, and respirative transpiration of moisture.’
    • ‘This helps moisture retention and provides nutrients.’
    • ‘Improvement in air tightness can paradoxically create problems in moisture retention, because the lack of air flow slows drying.’
    • ‘In areas prone to frost heave or with poor drainage, additional drainage material such as drain rock can be placed below the footings to reduce water retention in the soil.’
    • ‘Labor and time are saved when the farmer doesn't plow the field, and the organic matter sitting on the soil works effectively to decrease water run-off and erosion and boost the soil's nutrient retention.’
    • ‘Gums help low-fat cheese products retain their shape, cuttability, melting characteristics, spreadability and moisture retention.’
    • ‘Agricultural potential is limited by the high alkalinity of the soil and its poor water retention.’
    • ‘A micrometer-thick coating of steam-jet-cooked starch is just the thing to improve plastic films' retention of the water-based dyes and printing inks used on food labels.’
    • ‘The results showed that large droplets have slightly reduced retention in corn but have increased absorption, resulting in increased translocation of glyphosate to growing sink tissues.’
    • ‘If it's sandy or stiff with clay, dig in humus to improve water retention and aeration.’
    • ‘In addition to sawlogs and traditional forest products, huge tracts of land could be managed for wildlife, recreation, and eco-services such as carbon sequestration and water retention.’
    • ‘The retention of vitamins during cooking ranges from 67 to 76 percent, while that of minerals is over 100 percent, as the minerals become more concentrated.’
    • ‘To conserve moisture or develop a xeriscape, a landscape requiring little water, it is essential to have soil with good water retention.’
    • ‘No-tillage is preferable because retention of previous crop residue is valuable for conserving soil moisture on minesoils, which tend to be droughty.’
    • ‘Bedding is necessary for worms to burrow, bury food scraps, and also for moisture retention.’
    • ‘So, for instance, fissures in the underlying bedrock or a man-made trench or pit will often fill with soils and matter that have greater moisture retention and more nutrients than the surrounding, undisturbed subsoil.’
    • ‘Apply a thin top dress of bark mulch to improve water retention but do not cover stems.’
    • ‘Acrylic paints, like oil paints that are rich in medium, become soft and vulnerable to damage and dirt retention at high temperatures and humidities or brittle and friable at low temperatures.’
    1. 2.1 Failure to eliminate a substance from the body.
      ‘eating too much salt can lead to fluid retention’
      • ‘For example, dietary protein restriction reduced Zn absorption and retention in calves.’
      • ‘The first signs of potential clot formation include swollen, aching feet and legs with edema and increasing fluid retention.’
      • ‘MuscleTech has thoroughly researched the ability of various nutrients to increase creatine retention in the muscles.’
      • ‘The aged and dying marshal de Biron showed himself an unreliable instrument of force in Paris, while at Grenoble the 86-year-old marshal de Vaux was immobilized by retention of urine.’
      • ‘For example, diuretics may be helpful in reducing the fluid retention caused by high dietary salt intake.’
      • ‘The risk of urinary retention was reduced 81 percent by combination therapy, 68 percent by finasteride alone.’
      • ‘Nuclear retention of annexin II results in reduced cell proliferation and increased doubling time of cells.’
      • ‘Improved nitrogen retention and utilization also were observed in pigs fed Bacilli.’
      • ‘Research has demonstrated that specific amino acid complexes of trace minerals are more bioavailable and have better retention than inorganic sources.’
      • ‘Autonomic dysfunction can cause urinary retention or, less frequently, bladder or bowel incontinence.’
      • ‘The symptoms were nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal swelling, kidney damage, breathlessness due to retention of fluid in the lungs, and even death due to heart and liver failure.’
      • ‘A higher intake and body retention of selenium and vitamin E fed to replacement gilts will also be beneficial later in the sow's reproductive life.’
      • ‘Others have reported increased fecal P excretion and decreased P absorption and retention with increased dietary Mg concentrations.’
      • ‘It has been found to act as a satisfactory fat replacement in many processed foods, helping to give them pleasing texture, mouth feel, body, and moisture retention.’
      • ‘She still looked just as lovely as ever, despite slight edema in her legs and arms and fluid retention in her face.’
      • ‘In animal trials of a three-in-one drug candidate, he says, ‘we don't see weight gain, we don't see fluid retention, and we see a great lowering of fats.’’
      • ‘In that study, lambs fed either Mg source had higher apparent Mg absorption and retention (g/d) than lambs fed the control diet.’
      • ‘Talk to your doctor before you take any medicine, because some can cause fluid retention.’
      • ‘The ratio of P and Ca retention to protein gain for all animals older than the newborn calves was then plotted against animal age.’
      • ‘Gain requirement recommendations are from limited body composition data and relate P requirements to protein retention.’


Late Middle English (denoting the power to retain something): from Old French, from Latin retentio(n-), from retinere ‘hold back’ (see retain).