9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ri-tey-ner] /rɪˈteɪ nər/
a person or thing that retains.
a servant or attendant who has served a family for many years.
Also called cage, separator. Machinery. a ring separating, and moving with, balls or rollers in a bearing.
  1. a fixed or removable device worn in the mouth to hold the teeth in their new position during the adaptive period after straightening appliances have been removed.
  2. Prosthodontics. a part on a bridge or the like by which the bridge is attached to the natural teeth.
Origin of retainer1
1530-40; retain + -er1
Related forms
retainership, noun


[ri-tey-ner] /rɪˈteɪ nər/
the act of retaining in one's service.
the fact of being so retained.
a fee paid to secure services, as of a lawyer.
1425-75; late Middle English reteinir, probably noun use of Middle French retenir to retain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for retainer
  • The ultimate celebrity status symbol might be having a guy on retainer who can pimp your ride.
  • They can charge clients a retainer to look up things.
  • The chain tool also has a wire retainer to keep the ends of the chain linked when you break it.
  • Mazda said the rust on the hinges of the wiper arms might be caused by too-thin paint film on the retainer hinge.
  • The city says it cannot break down exactly how much is being spent on the effort, because the firm is on a yearly retainer.
  • If unbundling fees means firms having to pay a fat retainer for advisory work, so be it.
  • Maybe the city could even charge a small retainer for being on-call.
  • Others are paid on a retainer basis, with ongoing fees based on how much time and effort the advisor spends with each client.
British Dictionary definitions for retainer


(history) a supporter or dependant of a person of rank, esp a soldier
a servant, esp one who has been with a family for a long time
a clip, frame, or similar device that prevents a part of a machine, engine, etc, from moving
a dental appliance for holding a loose tooth or prosthetic device in position
a fee paid in advance to secure first option on the services of a barrister, jockey, etc
a reduced rent paid for a flat, room, etc, during absence to reserve it for future use
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for retainer

"fee to secure services," mid-15c., originally "act of keeping for oneself" from retain, or perhaps from or influenced by Middle French retenir, infinitive used as a noun. Meaning "fee paid to an attorney to secure his services" is from 1818.

"servant," 1530s, agent noun from retain (v.). Also "one who retains or holds" (1540s). Meaning "dental structure used to hold a bridge in place" is recorded from 1887.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
retainer in Medicine

retainer re·tain·er (rĭ-tā'nər)

  1. One that retains, as a device, frame, or groove that restrains or guides, especially for a prosthesis.

  2. An appliance used to hold teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for retainer

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for retainer

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with retainer