Definition of detain verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    detain

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪn//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they detain
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪn//
     
    he / she / it detains
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪnz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪnz//
     
    past simple detained
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪnd//
     
    past participle detained
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪnd//
     
    -ing form detaining
    BrE BrE//dɪˈteɪnɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈteɪnɪŋ//
     
    The police
     
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  1. 1detain somebody to keep somebody 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. Wordfinderarrest, charge, cordon, detain, detective, interrogate, plain clothes, police, raid, undercover See related entries: The police
  2. 2detain somebody (formal) to delay somebody or prevent them from going somewhere I'm sorry—he'll be late; he's been detained at a meeting. see also detention
  3. Word Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘be afflicted with sickness or infirmity’): from Old French detenir, from a variant of Latin detinere, from de- ‘away, aside’ + tenere ‘to hold’.Extra examples I’m sorry—he’ll be late; he’s been detained at a meeting. The minister was unavoidably detained in Lisbon on affairs of state. He has been detained without trial for nearly two years now. He was kidnapped and briefly detained by a terrorist group. Over 60 people have been detained in connection with the coup attempt. Prisoners cannot be detained indefinitely without charge. She was arrested and detained for distributing pro-democracy leaflets. The law allows police to detain suspects for questioning for up to 48 hours. Two people were detained in hospital following the crash. Two men have been detained in custody.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: detain