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[det-n-oo, -yoo] /ˈdɛt nˌu, -ˈyu/
noun, Law.
an old commonlaw form of action to recover possession of personal property wrongfully detained.
Origin of detinue
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English detenu < Anglo-French detenue, detinue detention, orig. feminine past participle of detenir to detain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for detinue
Historical Examples
  • detinue, the primitive remedy, retained that mark of primitive procedure.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • detinue, in law, the form of action whereby a plaintiff seeks to recover a chattel personal unlawfully detained.

  • In the manor courts, actions of debt, detinue, and covenant were frequent.

  • The use of the action of trover gradually supplants the action of detinue, which involves compurgation.

British Dictionary definitions for detinue


(law) an action brought by a plaintiff to recover goods wrongfully detained
Word Origin
C15: from Old French detenue, from detenir to 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
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