re·tire | \ri-ˈtī(-ə)r \
retired; retiring

Definition of retire 

intransitive verb

1 : to withdraw from action or danger : retreat

2 : to withdraw especially for privacy retired to her room

3 : to move back : recede

4 : to withdraw from one's position or occupation : conclude one's working or professional career

5 : to go to bed

transitive verb

1 : withdraw: such as

a : to march (a military force) away from the enemy

b : to withdraw from circulation or from the market : recall retire a bond

c : to withdraw from usual use or service

2 : to cause to retire from one's position or occupation

3a : to put out (a batter) in baseball

b : to cause (a side) to end a turn at bat in baseball

4 : to win permanent possession of (something, such as a trophy)

5 : to pay in full : settle retire a debt

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for retire


back away, drop back, fall back, pull out, recede, retreat, withdraw



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of retire in a Sentence

I want to be healthy when I retire. She had to retire during the first set because of a muscle strain. The Navy is retiring the old battleship. The manufacturer plans to retire that car model in a few years. The team is retiring his jersey number in honor of his great career.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The Marco Belinelli deal is fair, and the Spurs could use his shooting off the bench, especially if Manu Ginobili retires. Nick Talbot, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ Roundtable: How the Spurs’ and NBA free agency is shaping up," 7 July 2018 That is, until last year, when Wolowiec retired from the daily operations and brought in Senturk, who wanted to update Port Edward but still retain its ambiance. Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Elgin Courier-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Port Edward in Algonquin," 7 July 2018 Now retired, Costello has filled her days with painting and in this case, with wow-inducing works depicting people and places in our area. Lisa Peklo, Howard County Times, "Artist captures local landmarks in paintings [West Friendship]," 28 June 2018 An even more likely prospect is that Clarence Thomas (who is 70, and reportedly tired of the Court) will take the opportunity to make sure his successor is appointed by a Republican president and retire well before 2020. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Amy Coney Barrett Looks Like a Future Trump SCOTUS Pick," 11 July 2018 On Monday, Trump phoned retiring Justice Kennedy to inform him that his former law clerk would be nominated to fill his seat. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump picks Kavanaugh for court, setting up fight with Dems," 10 July 2018 President Trump will announce his pick to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat Monday evening. Bob Egelko,, "Trump to announce Supreme Court nominee Monday evening," 10 July 2018 Prince Philip is expected to attend the christening with the Queen as well, despite retiring from royal duties last year., "Prince Louis Will be Christened On A Special Date For the Royal Family," 8 July 2018 Image: Epic Games Tomorrow, Epic Games plans to retire Fortnite’s Playground mode, a limited time event that was designed to offer a more creative tool for the game’s millions of players. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The future of Fortnite may look a lot like Playground mode," 11 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of retire

1533, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for retire

Middle French retirer, from re- + tirer to draw

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about retire

Dictionary Entries near retire






retired list


Phrases Related to retire

retire the side

Statistics for retire

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retire

The first known use of retire was in 1533

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for retire



English Language Learners Definition of retire

: to stop a job or career because you have reached the age when you are not allowed to work anymore or do not need or want to work anymore

: to cause (someone, such as a military officer) to end a job or career

: to stop playing in a game, competition, etc., especially because of injury


re·tire | \ri-ˈtīr \
retired; retiring

Kids Definition of retire

1 : to give up a job permanently : quit working My grandfather retired at 65 years old.

2 : to go away especially to be alone I retired to my room.

3 : to go to bed I'm retiring for the night.

4 : to withdraw from use or service The navy retired an old ship.

5 : to get away from action or danger : retreat The army retired from the battlefield.

Other Words from retire

retirement \-mənt \ noun


retired; retiring

Legal Definition of retire 

intransitive verb

: to withdraw from an action the jury retired for deliberations

transitive verb

: to withdraw from circulation or from the market retire a loan retire stock

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on retire

What made you want to look up retire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!