ret·​i·​nue | \ ˈre-tə-ˌnü How to pronounce retinue (audio) , -ˌnyü \

Definition of retinue

: a group of retainers or attendants

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Did You Know?

Retinue derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French verb retenir, meaning "to retain." Another word deriving from retenir is retainer, which means, among other things, "one who serves a person of high position or rank." In the 14th century, that high person of rank was usually a noble or a royal of some kind, and retinue referred to that person's collection of servants and companions. Nowadays, the word is often used with a bit of exaggeration to refer to the assistants, guards, publicists, and other people who accompany an actor or other high-profile individual in public. You might also hear such a collection called a "suite" or "entourage," two other words derived from French.

Examples of retinue in a Sentence

the king and his retinue a pop star traveling with his retinue
Recent Examples on the Web Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan on Tuesday to reinforce the idea that the pandemic is under control, a position possibly undermined by the fact that Xi and his retinue wore masks. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Honda restarts production at Wuhan plant at center of outbreak," 13 Mar. 2020 Where else but beneath the city’s own towering Mardi Gras tree could the Masked One and his retinue bid the 2020 Carnival adieu? al, "Masked Observer celebrates a satisfying 2020 Carnival season," 1 Mar. 2020 The billionaire former New York City mayor took to the air in a chartered jet Monday, with a retinue of reporters and TV cameras in tow, and touched down around the state to remind voters that California’s election, like Iowa’s, is underway. Michael R. Blood,, "Snubbing Iowa, Bloomberg charts his own path in 2020 contest," 3 Feb. 2020 Same solid drives, same high, metronomic dribble, same deadening retinue of mid-range Js. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "The Return, and Potential Returns, of the N.B.A.," 25 Oct. 2019 The success of Beauty Brunches among women of all skin types and ages—and men, who account for 30% of Luxcey’s business, has spawned a growing retinue of repeat customers and has pushed Gwet to devise new gourmand experiences. Fortune, "These ‘Beauty Brunches’ in Prove That Wellness Is More Than Skin Deep," 21 Sep. 2019 After that, the two held and kissed each other wordlessly, too overcome with emotion to speak. * * * Barbara arrived with a retinue of Portuguese diplomats who were ready to sign a peace treaty. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Njinga," 4 Oct. 2019 Their father visited the forest as a young man alongside his father and their royal retinue, ostensibly as part of a Thanksgiving-like peaceful gathering. Christian Holub,, "Frozen 2 tries its best to live up to the world-conquering original: Review," 14 Nov. 2019 The lively retiree, too, has a retinue at Panchos & Gringos. Vincent T. Davis,, "San Antonio restaurant Panchos & Gringos offers down-home comfort," 7 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retinue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of retinue

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retinue

Middle English retenue, from Anglo-French, from feminine of retenu, past participle of retenir to retain

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Time Traveler for retinue

Time Traveler

The first known use of retinue was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Retinue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for retinue


How to pronounce retinue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of retinue

: a group of helpers, supporters, or followers

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More from Merriam-Webster on retinue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retinue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retinue

Spanish Central: Translation of retinue

Nglish: Translation of retinue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retinue for Arabic Speakers

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