re·​tire | \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r How to pronounce retire (audio) \
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for retire


bed, crash [slang], doss (down) [chiefly British], turn in


arise, get up, rise, uprise

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

After retiring from a career in the NBA and European basketball leagues, Bell-Holter identified a lack of resources and mentors for boys and men in his region. Anchorage Daily News, "Around Alaska, there’s a new approach to suicide prevention: Think locally," 17 Sep. 2019 The father of three, who went on to work as a sports commentator after retiring in 1995, is regarded as one of the finest AFL players in history. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Danny Frawley, 'larger than life' AFL great, dies in car crash," 9 Sep. 2019 Emotional Intelligence During the public comment portion of the meeting, retired teacher Gene Doxey said schools do a great job with academic intelligence but a lousy job on emotional intelligence. Ramona Sentinel, "Workers spend summer on school improvements," 4 Sep. 2019 Ten years ago, James Syvitski, an oceanographer the University of Colorado Boulder (who has since retired), published a landmark paper predicting that many of the world’s deltas could face catastrophic flooding in the 21st century. Charlie Schmidt, Scientific American, "New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta," 28 Aug. 2019 IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has run nightly at the park since 1999, but will be retired on September 30 of this year before being temporarily replaced by a new show, Epcot Forever. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "All The Changes Coming to Disney Next Year, From the Avengers Campus to an Epcot Redesign," 27 Aug. 2019 Now 55 years old and mostly retired from racing, Carpenter is the undisputed king of Pikes Peak, having won the marathon 12 times and the ascent-only race six times since his debut in 1987. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "Will Kilian Jornet Break Running’s Toughest Record?," 23 Aug. 2019 The county had been unsuccessful in finding a new director since former director William Hayes retired in October. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Former Seattle Police Chief John Diaz appointed as director of King County jails," 21 Aug. 2019 There, balladeers could sing protest songs, women could smoke hookah next to men, and cubicles provided space where the devout could retire to pray. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "“Midnight Traveler” Expands the Narrative of the Refugee Documentary," 17 Sep. 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about retire

Dictionary Entries near retire






retired list


Statistics for retire

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retire

The first known use of retire was in 1533

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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 How to pronounce retire (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on retire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retire

Spanish Central: Translation of retire

Nglish: Translation of retire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retire for Arabic Speakers

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).


tired or exhausted

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