Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: CRIME AND LAW

Date: 1400-1500
Language: Old French
Origin: detenir, from Latin detinere, from tenere 'to hold'

detain

verb
     
de‧tain [transitive]
1SC to officially prevent someone from leaving a place:
Two suspects have been detained by the police for questioning.
She was detained in hospital with a suspected broken leg.
2 [usually passive] formal to stop someone from leaving as soon as they expected [= delay]:
He was detained in Washington on urgent business.
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