Merriam-Webster defines delegation as "the act of empowering to act for another". In such a context, what is the antonym of delegation? Thesaurus.com suggests keeping, which seems a bit weak.

I can think of something like preservation, but it could be misinterpreted. Any suggestions?

I am a manager. Some tasks, I might want to delegate. Others, I might want not to. The former are instances of a delegation. What are the latter instances of?

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    Retention is fine, but you don't give us very much context. There is an interesting and salient Q&A at our sister site here. Jun 10, 2017 at 3:55
  • Incidentally, I wasn't sure at first what you meant by its opposite - I suppose this is more of a lack of delegation. Another understanding might be "assumption (of responsibility)" Jun 10, 2017 at 4:29
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    This kind of question requires the sentence you wish to use the word in. For example, you would not say simply "I retained the task." Rather you would say "I did not delegate the task." Sometimes the "opposite" requires a negative.
    – TimR
    Jun 10, 2017 at 10:18
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    @Tᴚoɯɐuo -- you don't retain tasks, but you do retain authority and powers. Jun 10, 2017 at 13:17
  • @Malvolio: Of course. That's why it's important to know what kind of sentence the OP wants to make.
    – TimR
    Jun 10, 2017 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


If you do not delegate authority, you retain authority. The opposite of delegation in this sense is retention.

In the comments, someone points out that the opposite action from delegation, reversing delegation, is centralization.

Delegation originally referred to the sending of ambassadors; the reverse of that is recalling ambassadors, but I think if you said you were recalling authority, everyone would think you were just remembering it.


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