1 [ri-tey-ner]
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.
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.
Prosthodontics. a part on a bridge or the like by which the bridge is attached to the natural teeth.

1530–40; retain + -er1

retainership, noun Unabridged


2 [ri-tey-ner]
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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
retainer (rɪˈteɪnə)
1.  history a supporter or dependant of a person of rank, esp a soldier
2.  a servant, esp one who has been with a family for a long time
3.  a clip, frame, or similar device that prevents a part of a machine, engine, etc, from moving
4.  a dental appliance for holding a loose tooth or prosthetic device in position
5.  a fee paid in advance to secure first option on the services of a barrister, jockey, etc
6.  a reduced rent paid for a flat, room, etc, during absence to reserve it for future use

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"fee to secure services," 1453, "act of keeping for oneself" from retain (perhaps infl. by M.Fr. retenir, infinitive used as a noun). Meaning "fee paid to an attorney to secure his services" is from 1818.

"servant," 1540, from retain (v.). Meaning "dental structure used to hold a bridge in place" is recorded from 1887.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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.
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Example sentences
But it gets even more complicated when one examines the retainers surrounding
  the candidates.
Keep dentures, retainers, and other appliances clean.
Higher monk officials expressed their intention of dying for religion, at the
  head of their retainers.
He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers.
Related Words
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