American English

Definition of detain verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they detain
    he / she / it detains
    past simple detained
    -ing form detaining
    jump to other results
  1. 1detain somebody to keep someone in an official place, such as a police station, a prison, or a hospital, and prevent them from leaving One man has been detained for questioning.
  2. 2detain somebody (formal) to delay someone or prevent them from going somewhere I'm sorry—he'll be late; he's been detained at a meeting. see also detention
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: detain