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 The community came out expecting to see a retinue of law enforcement and sanitation workers. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, "Protesters in Echo Park want city to keep homeless encampment," 24 Mar. 2021 All this comes as the royal family and their retinue of PR professionals brace themselves for Meghan and Harry’s appearance this Sunday on a two-hour CBS special with Oprah Winfrey. Washington Post, "Buckingham Palace to investigate whether Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, bullied her staff," 3 Mar. 2021 Kudos go out to Bienville and his entire retinue, who kept the Dauphin Island society’s existence a secret and managed to hold its first procession in a stealthy and safe way. al, "Masked Observer’s Mellow MoonPies celebrate a unique season," 19 Feb. 2021 Lutnick quickly noticed White wore no tie and arrived with no retinue. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Wall Street culture clash: When Coinbase met Cantor Fitzgerald," 3 Dec. 2020 His retinue wore combat fatigues and traveled in a bus labeled camp lejeune, after the U.S. Marine base. David A. Graham, The Atlantic, "Why a 41-Year-Old Record About Fascism Matters Now," 30 Nov. 2020 Housing and feeding his presidential retinue and Secret Service could cost the government tens of thousands of dollars more, all of which would flow to the Trump family business. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "The destructive power of a lame duck president," 7 Nov. 2020 Whether taking on Singleton’s crisp, songful cries or his denser hazes, this retinue handles the composer’s quick-changing music with grace. New York Times, "7 Things to Do This Weekend," 5 Nov. 2020 According to German media, as the pandemic raged this summer, the 68-year-old King Rama ensconced himself in a luxury hotel in the Bavarian Alps that was rented entirely for himself, a retinue of servants and a bevy of women. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "As Thailand’s economy shrinks, protesters question the $40 billion value of the King," 31 Oct. 2020

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

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

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Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retinue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of retinue

: a group of helpers, supporters, or followers

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