Meaning of “detain” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"detain" in British English

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detainverb [ T often passive ]

uk /dɪˈteɪn/ 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 short length 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 courts feel 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 short period 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)