Definition of detention in US English:

detention

noun

  • 1The action of detaining someone or the state of being detained in official custody, especially as a political prisoner.

    ‘one of the effects of police detention is isolation from friends and family’
    • ‘I have accepted that the appellant was detained and assaulted whilst in detention.’
    • ‘The appellant was not under arrest or detention at the time the question was asked.’
    • ‘His army medical records note that immediately after his arrest he was examined and found to be fit for detention.’
    • ‘Rivkin was serving the first weekend of a nine month periodic detention sentence.’
    • ‘They faced pass laws that restricted travel, constant harassment by government officials and police, arrests and detentions.’
    • ‘He was sentenced to periods of detention in a Young Offenders' Institution.’
    • ‘Police and security forces continued to deny the arrest and detention.’
    • ‘In two circumstances, however, the custody officer may authorise continued detention.’
    • ‘Thousands are being held at huge detention camps set up by US forces around Baghdad.’
    • ‘The adjudicator surmises that if the appellant were in detention the police would not be searching for him.’
    • ‘With a history of military service and labour detention camps, these provisions are not surprising.’
    • ‘That would obviously not be a rational justification for doubting the evidence of the arrest and detention.’
    • ‘Firstly, if a person is not currently in detention, they can be detained at any time.’
    • ‘It looks at the increase in detentions, imprisonment and police infiltration - as well as those who have been fighting back.’
    • ‘She has in my view made up a story of arrest and detention between May and September 1999.’
    • ‘The detention of all mandatory life prisoners in open conditions is subject to automatic review.’
    • ‘Surely measures short of detention should be tried first and detention should be regarded as the last resort.’
    • ‘They also will be given notice of the basis for their detention, officials said.’
    • ‘The effect of the original bill would also have been to allow house arrest and detention without trial.’
    • ‘His detention in custody beyond his criminal sentences has gone on long enough.’
    custody, imprisonment, confinement, incarceration, internment, captivity, restraint, arrest, house arrest, remand, committal
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The punishment of being kept in school after hours.
      ‘he has made students fear after-school detention’
      ‘arbitrary after-school detentions’
      • ‘Making students go for detentions was the standard punishment for a failure of a test.’
      • ‘At the end of every week at least one of us always had to stay after school for detention.’
      • ‘After class, Mrs. Barry assigned us both detentions for the next day, after school.’
      • ‘I had told her all about the horrid way he spoke to us innocent students, the way he punished Colleen with eight detentions, the way he hit people with the ruler when they gave the wrong answer.’
      • ‘Ava sighed, ‘I'll be back by dinner, I think detentions only go for an hour or something, love you.’’
      • ‘In some areas officials have warned teachers against detentions, while in others headteachers have been told to seek parental permission first.’
      • ‘We get detentions and suspensions for dilly-dallying like that, why shouldn't teachers?’
      • ‘I was put on constant after-school detentions to catch up on ALL the work I'd not done or refused to do.’
      • ‘Fergusson Intermediate pupils say the school has threatened to dish out detentions if they are caught hugging each other, a move many feel is heavy-handed.’
      • ‘She could barely handle being in class with him for the fifty minute periods but now she had to be in there for two hour detentions as well.’
      • ‘It took forever for me to convince my parents to let me go, no help from the few suspensions and many detentions.’
      • ‘In the end, the detentions didn't wind up being the worst punishment.’
      • ‘I don't know what I wanted to accomplish, but what I did get out of it was a week of after school detentions from Mrs. K.’
      • ‘News of the detentions provoked outrage among school students, teachers and school administrators.’
      • ‘It suggests children should not be allowed in playgrounds until they behave better and advises that Saturday detentions are a more effective sanction than keeping a child back after school.’
      • ‘My three detentions went mostly like this, one hour each.’
      • ‘Then I turned my back on him and wouldn't talk to him for the rest of the detention.’
      • ‘Her advice ends up being to score herself and Zeke both an hour's detention after school.’
      • ‘The entirety of last week had been spent with her in hour long after school detentions.’
      • ‘Of course, teachers responded to his pranks and high jinks with wrath and hours of detention.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘withholding of what is claimed or due’): from late Latin detentio(n-), from Latin detinere ‘hold back’ (see detain).

Pronunciation

detention

/dəˈten(t)SH(ə)n//dəˈtɛn(t)ʃ(ə)n/