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How to pronounce detain (audio)


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Dictionary definition of detain

To keep someone in custody or under restraint, typically by legal authority or formal order.
"Customs officials have the authority to detain goods that violate import regulations."

Detailed meaning of detain

When individuals are detained, they are not allowed to leave or move freely, often for a specified period, as a result of an arrest, investigation, or for security reasons. Detaining can occur in various settings, such as law enforcement detaining a suspect for questioning, immigration authorities detaining individuals pending their legal status, or detaining passengers at a security checkpoint at an airport. In essence, "detain" underscores the temporary restriction of an individual's freedom of movement or liberty, often for lawful or security-related purposes.

Example sentences containing detain

1. The police often detain suspects for questioning.
2. They will detain him until the trial begins.
3. Customs officers may detain goods that are improperly declared.
4. Do not detain me; I am in a hurry.
5. The security guards will detain anyone caught trespassing.
6. The headmaster might detain the students who were caught cheating.

History and etymology of detain

The verb 'detain' has its etymological roots in Old French, where it was derived from the word 'detenir,' which means 'to hold' or 'to keep back.' This Old French term, in turn, can be traced back to Latin, specifically 'detinere,' which combines 'de,' indicating 'completely,' and 'tenere,' meaning 'to hold.' The etymology of 'detain' thus conveys the notion of holding someone or something completely or forcibly. In the context of law and order, 'detain' has come to represent the act of keeping an individual in custody or under restraint, typically through legal authority or formal order, emphasizing the idea of temporarily holding them back from their freedom or normal activities.

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Further usage examples of detain

1. Authorities can detain individuals under certain conditions.
2. You should not detain people without a good reason.
3. Can the library detain me for returning a book late?
4. The soldiers will detain the intruder for interrogation.
5. They detain packages at the border for thorough inspection.
6. She asked her assistant to detain any calls while she was in the meeting.
7. The principal will detain the class if they continue to make noise.
8. You cannot detain me here against my will!
9. The shopkeeper threatened to detain the boy for shoplifting.
10. The immigration office might detain his passport until the investigation is complete.
11. The authorities detain questionable materials coming through customs.
12. Will the security personnel detain her for forgetting her ID?
13. They detain luggage at the airport if it seems suspicious.
14. The moderators will detain inappropriate comments for review.



hold, release, free, liberate


TOEFL 9, Law and Order, Middle School 7, Punishment and Enforcement

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