When police keep a suspect at the station for questioning, this is an example of a situation where the police detain the suspect.
- to keep in custody; confine
- to keep from going on; hold back
- Obs. to withhold
Origin of detainMiddle English deteinen from Old French detenir from Classical Latin detinere, to hold down or off, keep back, detain from de-, off, from + tenere, to hold: see tenant
transitive verbde·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
- To keep from proceeding; delay or retard: Our friends were detained by heavy traffic.
- To keep in custody or confinement: The police detained several suspects for questioning.
- Archaic To retain or withhold (payment or property, for example).
Origin of detainMiddle English deteinen from Old French detenir from Vulgar Latin dētenīre from Latin dētinēre dē- de- tenēre to hold ; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present detains, present participle detaining, simple past and past participle detained)
- Keep (someone) from proceeding by holding them back or making claims on their attention.
- To put under custody.
- To keep back or from; to withhold.
From Old French detenir.