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noun re·treat \ri-ˈtrēt\

Simple Definition of retreat

  • : movement by soldiers away from an enemy because the enemy is winning or has won a battle

  • : movement away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.

  • : the act of changing your opinion or position on something because it is unpopular

Full Definition of retreat

  1. 1 a (1) :  an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (2) :  the process of receding from a position or state attained <the retreat of a glacier> b (1) :  the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position (2) :  a signal for retreating c (1) :  a signal given by bugle at the beginning of a military flag-lowering ceremony (2) :  a military flag-lowering ceremony

  2. 2 :  a place of privacy or safety :  refuge

  3. 3 :  a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

Examples of retreat

  1. Some of her friends were surprised by her retreat from public life following her defeat in the election.

  2. <we made a strategic retreat when we realized that we were outnumbered>

Origin of retreat

Middle English retret, from Anglo-French retrait, from past participle of retraire to withdraw, from Latin retrahere, from re- + trahere to draw

First Known Use: 14th century



verb re·treat

Simple Definition of retreat

  • : to move back to get away from danger, attack, etc.

  • : to move or go away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.

  • : to change your opinion or statement about something because it is unpopular

Full Definition of retreat

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a retreat :  withdraw

  3. 2 :  to slope backward

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to draw or lead back :  remove; specifically :  to move (a piece) back in chess

re·treat·er noun

Examples of retreat

  1. When the enemy attacked, our troops were forced to retreat.

  2. They retreated behind trees for safety.

  3. He quickly retreated from the room.

  4. After her defeat, she retreated from politics.

15th Century

First Known Use of retreat

15th century

Synonym Discussion of retreat

recede, retreat, retract, back mean to move backward. recede implies a gradual withdrawing from a forward or high fixed point in time or space <the flood waters gradually receded>. retreat implies withdrawal from a point or position reached <retreating soldiers>. retract implies drawing back from an extended position <a cat retracting its claws>. back is used with up, down, out, or off to refer to any retrograde motion <backed off on the throttle>.

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February 11, 2016

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