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See also: rétention


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From Middle English retencioun, borrowed from Latin retentiō, retentiōnis, from retentus, the perfect passive participle of retineō (retain) (from re- (back, again) + teneō (hold, keep)).


retention (countable and uncountable, plural retentions)

  1. The act of retaining or something retained
  2. The act or power of remembering things
  3. A memory; what is retained in the mind
  4. (medicine) The involuntary withholding of urine and faeces
  5. (medicine) The length of time an individual remains in treatment
  6. (obsolete) That which contains something, as a tablet; a means of preserving impressions.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 122,[1]
      Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
      Full character’d with lasting memory,
      That poor retention could not so much hold,
      Nor need I tallies thy dear love to score;
  7. (obsolete) The act of withholding; restraint; reserve.
  8. (obsolete) A place of custody or confinement.
  9. (law) The right to withhold a debt, or of retaining property until a debt due to the person claiming the right is duly paid; a lien.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Erskine to this entry?)
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