- Retain is defined as to keep, hold on to or keep in place.
- An example of retain is to keep a prized possession from childhood.
- An example of retain is for mouth-gear to keep the teeth in place.
- to hold or keep in possession
- to keep in a fixed state or condition
- to continue to have or hold in: to retain heat
- to continue to practice, use, etc.
- to keep in mind
- to hire, or arrange in advance for the services of, by paying a retainer
Origin of retainMiddle English reteynen ; from Old French retenir ; from Late Latin an unverified form retenere, for Classical Latin retinere ; from re-, back + tenere, to hold: see thin
transitive verbre·tained, re·tain·ing, re·tains
- a. To keep possession of; continue to have: The family sold the house but retained the land. See Synonyms at keep.b. To keep in a particular place or condition: a library that retains the author's papers; plants that retain a lot of water.c. To continue to have as a feature or aspect: retains his good humor after all the setbacks.
- To keep in mind; remember: retains the songs she learned in childhood.
- To require (a student) to repeat a class or grade because of insufficient educational progress to advance.
- a. To keep in one's service or pay: retain employees on a workforce.b. To hire (an attorney, for example) by the payment of a fee.c. To hire someone for (his or her services).
Origin of retainMiddle English retainen, from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre : re-, re- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present retains, present participle retaining, simple past and past participle retained)