Definition of retention in English:



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

    ‘the retention of direct control by central government’
    • ‘Projects must meet a specific physical test for retention of existing walls and internal structural framework.’
    • ‘Equally important to strength maintenance are programs that would reduce attrition while enhancing retention of trained soldiers.’
    • ‘The most common rationale for war was acquisition or retention of territory.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The department is due to complete the public consultation process on data retention by the end of this month.’
    • ‘‘Most investors are very resentful of the continued retention of their property at a cost,’ said Shorten.’
    • ‘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 auditor general criticized the government's apparent unreadiness to undertake the required recruitment and retention of qualified staff.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Data warehousing, legal considerations and government regulations require longterm data retention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Internal promotions continue to rise as firms place greater emphasis on staff retention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What we must do is significantly improve our ball retention and make sure our kicking game is perfect.’
    • ‘Selective retention would include a plan to keep employees in the top three groups.’
    • ‘Once again, due to the tight labor market, a major challenge in 2000 will be in the area of staff retention, training and recruitment.’
    • ‘The chapter was honored for its active recruitment and retention of members; and for its sponsorship of organized events for members and non - members.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1The fact of keeping something in one's memory.
      ‘the children's retention of facts’
      • ‘Processing speed doesn't matter in the brain, says Hawkins, because the basis of thought is not data manipulation but memory retention and prediction.’
      • ‘Previous experiences in similar fields have been found to affect academic performance and retention in college agricultural and non-agricultural programs to varying degrees.’
      • ‘Ezekiel waved his arms, as if the gesture aided in memory retention.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do you hold store in ‘knowledge’ or retention of facts as an identifier to intellectual ability?’
      • ‘Selective retention occurs when an individual remembers only those aspects of the message perceived as being necessary to the receiver.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nearly all cases of exceptional memory are domain-specific, and retention of sequences or arrays of digits is the most common locus.’
      • ‘‘Just one administration of the drug resulted in very potent memory retention,’ which may last as long as 21 days, he says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As expected, all questions showed a decrease (negative percentage) in knowledge retention from the first posttest to the delayed-posttest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Future research should include studies to reveal language acquisition or learning comprehension and retention when using weblogs.’
      • ‘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, retention, mind
      View synonyms
  • 2The action of absorbing and continuing to hold a substance.

    ‘the soil's retention of moisture’
    • ‘Agricultural potential is limited by the high alkalinity of the soil and its poor water retention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If it's sandy or stiff with clay, dig in humus to improve water retention and aeration.’
    • ‘Gums help low-fat cheese products retain their shape, cuttability, melting characteristics, spreadability and moisture retention.’
    • ‘According to president Ed Snodgrass, these plants provide maximum groundcover, water retention, erosion resistance, and respirative transpiration of moisture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To conserve moisture or develop a xeriscape, a landscape requiring little water, it is essential to have soil with good water retention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Apply a thin top dress of bark mulch to improve water retention but do not cover stems.’
    • ‘Improvement in air tightness can paradoxically create problems in moisture retention, because the lack of air flow slows drying.’
    • ‘Bedding is necessary for worms to burrow, bury food scraps, and also for moisture retention.’
    • ‘No-tillage is preferable because retention of previous crop residue is valuable for conserving soil moisture on minesoils, which tend to be droughty.’
    • ‘This helps moisture retention and provides nutrients.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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. 2.1Failure to eliminate a substance from the body.
      ‘eating too much salt can lead to fluid retention’
      • ‘Nuclear retention of annexin II results in reduced cell proliferation and increased doubling time of cells.’
      • ‘Others have reported increased fecal P excretion and decreased P absorption and retention with increased dietary Mg concentrations.’
      • ‘The risk of urinary retention was reduced 81 percent by combination therapy, 68 percent by finasteride alone.’
      • ‘The ratio of P and Ca retention to protein gain for all animals older than the newborn calves was then plotted against animal age.’
      • ‘Improved nitrogen retention and utilization also were observed in pigs fed Bacilli.’
      • ‘Gain requirement recommendations are from limited body composition data and relate P requirements to protein retention.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Research has demonstrated that specific amino acid complexes of trace minerals are more bioavailable and have better retention than inorganic sources.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Talk to your doctor before you take any medicine, because some can cause fluid retention.’
      • ‘For example, diuretics may be helpful in reducing the fluid retention caused by high dietary salt intake.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Autonomic dysfunction can cause urinary retention or, less frequently, bladder or bowel incontinence.’
      • ‘She still looked just as lovely as ever, despite slight edema in her legs and arms and fluid retention in her face.’
      • ‘In that study, lambs fed either Mg source had higher apparent Mg absorption and retention (g/d) than lambs fed the control diet.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘MuscleTech has thoroughly researched the ability of various nutrients to increase creatine retention in the muscles.’
      • ‘The first signs of potential clot formation include swollen, aching feet and legs with edema and increasing fluid retention.’
      • ‘For example, dietary protein restriction reduced Zn absorption and retention in calves.’


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