detain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “detain” in the English Dictionary

"detain" in British English

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detainverb [T often passive]

uk   us   /dɪˈteɪn/
to ​force someone ​officially to ​stay in a ​place: A ​suspect has been detained by the ​police for ​questioning. Several of the ​injured were detained ​overnight in ​hospital. to ​delay someone for a ​shortlength of ​time: I'm ​sorry I'm late - I was unavoidably detained.detain sb at His/Her Majesty's pleasure UK specialized to ​keep someone in ​prison for as ​long as the ​courtsfeel is ​necessary
(Definition of detain from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"detain" in American English

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detainverb [T]

 us   /dɪˈteɪn/
to ​force someone ​officially to ​stay in a ​place: A ​suspect is being detained by the ​police for ​further questioning. To detain someone is also to ​delay that ​person for a ​shortperiod of ​time: We were detained in ​traffic and ​arrived at the ​theater a little late.
(Definition of detain from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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