the act of retaining.
the state of being retained.
the power to retain; capacity for retaining.
the act or power of remembering things; memory.

1350–1400; Middle English retencion < Latin retentiōn- (stem of retentiō) a keeping back, equivalent to retent(us) (past participle of retinēre to retain) + -iōn- -ion

nonretention, noun
overretention, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
retention (rɪˈtɛnʃən)
1.  the act of retaining or state of being retained
2.  the capacity to hold or retain liquid
3.  the capacity to remember
4.  pathol the abnormal holding within the body of urine, faeces, etc, that are normally excreted
5.  commerce a sum of money owed to a contractor but not paid for an agreed period as a safeguard against any faults found in the work carried out
6.  (plural) accounting profits earned by a company but not distributed as dividends; retained earnings
[C14: from Latin retentiō, from retinēre to retain]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, from L. retentionem (nom. retentio) "a retaining, a holding back," from pp. stem of retinere (see retain). Retentive is attested from late 14c., from O.Fr. retentif.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

retention re·ten·tion (rĭ-těn'shən)

  1. Involuntary withholding by the body of wastes or secretions that are normally eliminated.

  2. The holding by the body of what normally belongs in it, such as food in the stomach.

  3. An ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced; memory.

  4. In dentistry, a period following orthodontic treatment when a patient wears an appliance or appliances to stabilize the teeth in their new position.

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
Explicit memory involves facts learned through conscious interaction, while
  implicit memory involves unconscious retention.
Water retention is key to keeping skin moisturized and supple, which can
  translate to fewer lines and a smoother complexion.
But the retention of legs is dramatic evidence that earlier whales once
  walked-and ran-on land.
Add in honeycombed shades for yet more heat retention.
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