Definition of detain in English:

detain

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Keep (someone) from proceeding; hold back.

    ‘she made to open the door, but he detained her’
    • ‘A machine detains you for only a moment and then a pleasant live operator will thank you for saying ‘I oppose’ (or ‘I approve of’) of the proposed War against Iraq.’
    • ‘Freddie was passed down the line, each diver detaining him to take their turn.’
    • ‘Insofar as form and language detain him, they detain him as questions of ideology.’
    • ‘Many people will think that this question need not detain us for more than a moment: the answer is yes.’
    • ‘It appeared to be pointing in my direction to scare me away and stop me detaining him.’
    • ‘As I say, I wasn't detained by the characters' opinions.’
    delay, hold up, make late, retard, slow up, slow down, set back, get bogged down
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    1. 1.1 Keep (someone) in official custody, typically for questioning about a crime or in politically sensitive situations.
      ‘she was detained without trial for two years’
      • ‘Because he was not detained in custody after 10th April, he continued to offend.’
      • ‘The three guards were detained and questioned, after which the security firm suspended one pending the outcome of the inquiry.’
      • ‘More than five weeks later, on August 14, Mitchell was detained for questioning but was released later that day without charge.’
      • ‘They argued that I was being unlawfully detained in prison as a result of the Stafford ruling.’
      • ‘He was detained and questioned by UK Police, who used their powers under the Anti-Terrorism laws to do so.’
      • ‘A second suspected militant was also detained by Italian police, they said.’
      • ‘Officers confiscated medical instruments and blood stained linen as evidence and detained both women for questioning.’
      • ‘There has been a very huge difference between actually arresting someone and detaining him for questioning.’
      • ‘Over 50 fans were arrested and 15 of them were detained in custody.’
      • ‘Singh says he was detained for three hours until his friends could bail him out.’
      • ‘The waiter was detained for further questioning to make sure he was not in possession of other stolen property.’
      • ‘The ten men were originally detained without trial for two years in Belmarsh prison.’
      • ‘The claimant may also expect to discover whether the custody officer who detained him did so from a genuine belief in the need so to act, or from some ulterior motive.’
      • ‘If people are unlawfully detained, they have a right to be free?’
      • ‘No child could be detained for a lengthy period of time without an order from juvenile court.’
      • ‘The military claimed they were detaining him because of ‘inconsistencies in his initial testimony.’’
      • ‘They were briefly detained by police, then released without charge.’
      • ‘Indeed, that judge may be inclined to put pressure on a suspect by deciding to detain him in police custody for the purpose of questioning.’
      • ‘Two brothers who once were detained in connection with the case are now back in jail.’
      • ‘Because of poverty, the suspects are detained for 143 days on average before a court appearance.’
      imprison, jail, incarcerate, send to prison, put behind bars, put under lock and key, put in chains, put into irons, throw into irons, clap in irons, hold captive
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Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense be afflicted with sickness or infirmity): from Old French detenir, from a variant of Latin detinere, from de- away, aside + tenere to hold.

Pronunciation:

detain

/dəˈtān/