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re·tain / riˈtān/ • v. continue to have (something); keep possession of: built in 1830, the house retains many of its original features. ∎  not abolish, discard, or alter: the rights of defendants must be retained. ∎  keep in one's memory: I retained a few French words and phrases. ∎  absorb and continue to hold (a substance): limestone is known to retain water. ∎  [often as adj.] (retaining) keep (something) in place; hold fixed: remove the retaining bar. ∎  keep (someone) engaged in one's service: he has been retained as a freelance. ∎  secure the services of (a person, esp. an attorney) with a preliminary payment: retain an attorney to handle the client's business.DERIVATIVES: re·tain·a·bil·i·ty / riˌtānəˈbilətē/·tain·a·ble·tain·ment n.

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