follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

detention

[dih-ten-shuh n] /dɪˈtɛn ʃən/
noun
1.
the act of detaining.
2.
the state of being detained.
3.
maintenance of a person in custody or confinement, especially while awaiting a court decision.
4.
the withholding of what belongs to or is claimed by another.
adjective
5.
of or pertaining to detention or used to detain:
the detention room of a police station.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin dētentiōn- (stem of dētentiō), equivalent to dētent(us) detained (past participle of dētinēre; see detain) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nondetention, noun
predetention, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for detentions
  • These greasy scoundrels are always getting themselves into mischief and detentions.
British Dictionary definitions for detentions

detention

/dɪˈtɛnʃən/
noun
1.
the act of detaining or state of being detained
2.
  1. custody or confinement, esp of a suspect awaiting trial
  2. (as modifier): a detention order
3.
a form of punishment in which a pupil is detained after school
4.
the withholding of something belonging to or claimed by another
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dētentiō a keeping back; see detain
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 detentions

detention

n.

mid-15c., from Middle French détention (13c.), from Late Latin detentionem (nominative detentio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin detinere (see detain). Sense of "confinement" used by 1570s (in reference to Mary Queen of Scots). In reference to school punishment, recorded from 1882.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for detentions

detention

the practice of incarcerating accused individuals before trial on the assumption that their release would not be in the best interest of society-specifically, that they would be likely to commit additional crimes if they were released. Preventive detention is also used when the release of the accused is felt to be detrimental to the state's ability to carry out its investigation. In some countries the practice has been attacked as a denial of certain fundamental rights of the accused.

Learn more about detention with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for detention

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for detentions

11
13
Scrabble Words With Friends