verb (used with object)
to keep possession of.
to continue to use, practice, etc.: to retain an old custom.
to continue to hold or have: to retain a prisoner in custody; a cloth that retains its color.
to keep in mind; remember.
to hold in place or position.
to engage, especially by payment of a preliminary fee: to retain a lawyer.

1350–1400; Middle English reteinen < Old French retenir < Latin retinēre to hold back, hold fast, equivalent to re- re- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold

retainable, adjective
retainability, retainableness, noun
retainment, noun
nonretainable, adjective
nonretainment, noun
unretainable, adjective
unretained, adjective
unretaining, adjective

1. hold, preserve. See keep.

1. loose, lose. 4. forget. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
retain (rɪˈteɪn)
1.  to keep in one's possession
2.  to be able to hold or contain: soil that retains water
3.  (of a person) to be able to remember (information, facts, etc) without difficulty
4.  to hold in position
5.  to keep for one's future use, as by paying a retainer or nominal charge: to retain one's rooms for the holidays
6.  law to engage the services of (a barrister) by payment of a preliminary fee
7.  (in selling races) to buy back a winner that one owns when it is auctioned after the race
8.  (of racehorse trainers) to pay an advance fee to (a jockey) so as to have prior or exclusive claims upon his services throughout the season
[C14: from Old French retenir, from Latin retinēre to hold back, from re- + tenēre to hold]

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

late 14c., from O.Fr. retenir, from L. retinere "hold back," from re- "back" + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Meaning "keep (another) attached to one's person, keep in service" is from mid-15c.; specifically of lawyers from 1540s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Preserving and retaining water is crucial to keeping the entire ecosystem alive.
The lap pool is sheltered from the wind by a retaining wall and a hillside in
  the distance.
Clay soils absorb water slowly and drain slowly as well, retaining water longer
  than other soils.
Many of these original trees and shrubs still stand, retaining the regional
  flavor of the border.
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