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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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 queen demanded that she and her retinue be accommodated at the castle for the night, which was her right. Anne Thériault, Longreads, 21 June 2022 On Sunday, Biden is expected to stop at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School, bringing the retinue of the world’s most powerful leader to a quiet grid of streets overhung with pecan trees and roamed by quarrelsome chickens. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 29 May 2022 Three weeks later, a retinue of 15 managers from Japanese company swooped down on the team’s homegrown Bitcoin farm in New Orleans. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 9 Mar. 2022 The Dassault Falcon 900 carried a retinue of Secret Service agents, other support staffers, Trump and some of his advisers, according to the people familiar with the incident. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 The Dassault Falcon 900 carried a retinue of Secret Service agents, other support staff, Trump and some of his advisers, the people said. Josh Dawsey And Ian Duncan, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Mar. 2022 The baritone Quinn Kelsey, a Met stalwart for over a decade, had a breakthrough as the jester Rigoletto, part of the retinue of the lecherous Duke of Mantua. New York Times, 2 Jan. 2022 In 1615 the sultan of Morocco arrived with his retinue to witness for himself the villa’s splendors. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, 25 Feb. 2022 One gang leader, Jimmy Cherizier, known as Barbeque, marched with his retinue dressed in a white suit to the downtown of Port-au-Prince in July to hold a memorial service for Moïse, without meeting any resistance from police., 16 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Retinue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on retinue

Nglish: Translation of retinue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retinue for Arabic Speakers


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