Etymology
Advertisement

detain (v.)

early 15c. (implied in deteined), "keep back or away, withhold," from Old French detenir "to hold off, keep back" (12c.), from Latin detinere "hold off, keep back," from de "from, away" (see de-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch."

Legal sense of "to hold in custody" is from late 15c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French). Meaning "keep or restrain from proceeding" is from 1590s. Modern spelling is 17c., from influence of contain, retain, etc. Related: Detained; detaining.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of detain

detain (v.)
deprive of freedom; take into confinement;
Synonyms: confine
detain (v.)
stop or halt;
Synonyms: stay / delay
detain (v.)
cause to be slowed down or delayed;
Synonyms: delay / hold up
From wordnet.princeton.edu