1. The act of retaining or the condition of being retained: the retention of nutrients in the soil; the retention of jobs in the city.
2. The practice of requiring a student to repeat a class or a year of school because of insufficient educational progress to advance.
3. The ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced; memory.
4. The inability of a person or animal to eliminate a bodily waste.
[Middle English retencioun, from Old French retention, from Latin retentiō, retentiōn-, from retentus, past participle of retinēre, to retain; see RETAIN.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.