- 1retain something to keep something; to continue to have something synonym preserve to retain your independence He struggled to retain control of the situation. The house retains much of its original charm. She retained her tennis title for the third year.
- 2retain something to continue to hold or contain something a soil that retains moisture This information is no longer retained within the computer's main memory. (figurative) She has a good memory and finds it easy to retain facts.
- 3retain somebody/something (law) if a member of the public retains someone such as a lawyer, he or she pays money regularly or in advance so the lawyer, etc. will do work for him or her when it is needed a retaining fee to retain the services of a lawyer see also retention, retentive
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NAmE//rɪˈteɪn//(rather formal)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they retain
he / she / it retains
past simple retained
-ing form retaining