Definition of RETENTION


Retention is a noun that refers to the act, process, or state of retaining or keeping something in one’s possession, control, or memory over time. It encompasses the preservation, maintenance, or continued possession of something, such as information, knowledge, employees, customers, or resources.

Preservation or Maintenance: As a noun, retention denotes the preservation or maintenance of something in its current state or condition, preventing loss, decay, or deterioration over time. It involves safeguarding valuable assets, resources, or information to ensure their continued availability, usability, or effectiveness.

Continued Possession or Control: Retention also implies the continued possession or control of something by an individual, organization, or entity, maintaining ownership, custody, or authority over assets, properties, or rights. It involves keeping something within one’s possession or jurisdiction for future use or reference.

Memory or Recall: In cognitive psychology or education, retention refers to the ability to remember or recall information, knowledge, or skills over time. It involves the persistence of learned material in memory, allowing individuals to retrieve and apply previously acquired knowledge or experiences when needed.

Employee or Customer Retention: In business or human resources management, retention pertains to strategies, policies, or initiatives aimed at retaining valuable employees or customers within an organization. It involves creating incentives, fostering engagement, and addressing concerns to reduce turnover and maintain loyalty.

Resource Utilization: Retention may also relate to the efficient utilization or conservation of resources, such as water, energy, or natural habitats, to minimize waste, depletion, or environmental degradation. It involves managing resources sustainably to ensure their availability for future generations.

Retention encompasses the act, process, or state of retaining or keeping something in one’s possession, control, or memory over time. Whether involving the preservation of assets, the continued possession of information, the recall of knowledge, or strategies for employee and customer loyalty, retention plays a crucial role in sustaining value, continuity, and effectiveness in various domains of human endeavor.

Examples of RETENTION in a sentence

  • The company offers bonuses to employees as incentives for retention.
  • Regular exercise is important for memory retention.
  • The college has a high retention rate for first-year students.
  • The retention of water in the soil is crucial for plant growth.
  • He demonstrated a strong retention of the information from his studies.
  • The policy aims to increase customer retention by improving service quality.
  • The school implemented new strategies to enhance student retention.
  • The retention of key employees is vital for the success of the project.

Origin of RETENTION 

The term retention embarks on a linguistic journey, tracing its origins through centuries of administrative, psychological, and physiological development. Rooted in Middle English and Latin influences, it has evolved into a versatile term that signifies the act of retaining, preserving, or keeping something.

  • Middle English Roots: The word retention originated from the Middle English noun “retencioun,” which meant “a holding back” or “a keeping.” This noun was derived from the Old French “retenciun” and ultimately from the Latin “retentio,” which means “a holding back” or “a keeping.”
  • Latin Influence: The Latin term “retentio,” formed from the verb “retinere” (meaning “to hold back” or “to keep”), contributed to the development of the concept of retention as the act of holding onto or preserving something over time.
  • Administrative Context: In its earliest usage, retention referred to the act of keeping or holding onto something for a specific purpose or duration. This could include retaining documents, records, or possessions for legal, administrative, or personal reasons.
  • Educational and Cognitive Processes: In education and psychology, retention denotes the ability to remember or recall information over time. It encompasses processes such as memory consolidation, encoding, and retrieval, as well as factors that influence the durability of learning and knowledge retention.
  • Physiological Functions: Retention also has physiological connotations, referring to the body’s ability to retain or hold onto substances, such as water or nutrients, for physiological functions. For example, kidney function involves the retention of water and electrolytes to maintain fluid balance and regulate blood pressure.

Retention stands as a term that reflects humanity’s need for preservation, continuity, and stability. From its Middle English and Latin roots to its modern-day applications in administration, education, and physiology, the word embodies the concept of holding onto or preserving something for future use, reference, or benefit.


  • Preservation
  • Conservation
  • Maintenance
  • Storage
  • Memory
  • Recollection
  • Recall
  • Continuation


  • Release
  • Disposal
  • Forgetting
  • Abandonment
  • Disregard
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Dismissal


  • Sustaining
  • Holding
  • Keeping
  • Clinging
  • Grasping
  • Memory retention
  • Securement
  • Sustenance

🌐 🇬🇧 RETENTION in other languages

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