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

As a teenager, Mr. Kerr joined the Ellington retinue on tour. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Brooks Kerr, Piano Prodigy and Ellington Expert, Dies at 66," 9 May 2018 But the king does not sound all that assured lording it over retinue and family. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, "Review: A ‘King Lear’ in Which You Feel for All the Daughters," 12 Apr. 2018 Her husband, Adhéaume, served in the retinue of Henri d’Artois, Comte de Chambord, Bourbon pretender to the French throne who lived in exile at the grim Schloss in the Austrian village of Frohsdorf. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Proust’s Duchess’ Review: The Guermantes Trio," 5 July 2018 Outside the castle walls, tens of thousands of well-wishers thronged the streets, cheering, waving and whooping as the retinue passed, escorted by mounted members of the Royal Household Cavalry in full regalia. Christina Boyle,, "Joyous crowds greet newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after their marriage ceremony," 19 May 2018 Pruitt had acquired a custom S.U.V., biometric locks on his office door, a forty-three-thousand-dollar soundproof phone booth, and a retinue of round-the-clock guards. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Trump vs. the “Deep State”," 14 May 2018 Trump was accompanied there by only a small retinue of staff, including senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a proponent of strict anti-immigration policies. Author: David Nakamura, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump heats up rhetoric on border, immigration as some supporters grow impatient," 3 Apr. 2018 Besides, with a healthy toad retinue, your pest problems will be taken care of —naturally. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways To Attract Toads To Your Garden (And Why You’d Totally Want To)," 16 May 2017 So will Macron and his wife Brigitte choose to do as de Gaulle did and lead a royal retinue into the capital, Andorra la Vella, to greet their subjects? Claire Shefchik, Town & Country, "Emmanuel Macron Is Now an Actual Prince," 15 May 2017

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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Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for retinue

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

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English Language Learners Definition of retinue

: a group of helpers, supporters, or followers

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More from Merriam-Webster on retinue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retinue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retinue

Spanish Central: Translation of retinue

Nglish: Translation of retinue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retinue for Arabic Speakers

Comments on retinue

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the range of authority or knowledge

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