Mech. a part that stops or releases a movement, as a catch for controlling the striking of a clock
Origin of detentFrench détente ; from détendre, to relax, unbend ; from dé- (L dis-), from + tendre, to stretch: see tend
A catch or lever that locks the movement of one part of a mechanism.
Origin of detentFrench détente, a loosening, from Old French destente, from feminine past participle of destendre, to release : des-, de- + tendre, to stretch (from Latin tendere; see ten- in Indo-European roots).
- That which locks or unlocks a movement; a catch, pawl, or dog; especially, in clockwork, the catch which locks and unlocks the wheelwork in striking.
(third-person singular simple present detents, present participle detenting, simple past and past participle detented)
- The action of creating a detent mechanism to lock or unlock movement.