retreat

noun
re·​treat | \ ri-ˈtrēt How to pronounce retreat (audio) \

Definition of retreat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable
(2) : the process of receding from a position or state attained the retreat of a glacier
b(1) : the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position
(2) : a signal for retreating
c(1) : a signal given by bugle at the beginning of a military flag-lowering ceremony
(2) : a military flag-lowering ceremony
2 : a place of privacy or safety : refuge
3 : a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

retreat

verb
retreated; retreating; retreats

Definition of retreat (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a retreat : withdraw
2 : to slope backward

transitive verb

: to draw or lead back : remove specifically : to move (a piece) back in chess

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Other Words from retreat

Verb

retreater noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for retreat

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for retreat

Verb

recede, retreat, retract, back mean to move backward. recede implies a gradual withdrawing from a forward or high fixed point in time or space. the flood waters gradually receded retreat implies withdrawal from a point or position reached. retreating soldiers retract implies drawing back from an extended position. a cat retracting its claws back is used with up, down, out, or off to refer to any retrograde motion. backed off on the throttle

Examples of retreat in a Sentence

Noun Some of her friends were surprised by her retreat from public life following her defeat in the election. we made a strategic retreat when we realized that we were outnumbered Verb When the enemy attacked, our troops were forced to retreat. They retreated behind trees for safety. He quickly retreated from the room. After her defeat, she retreated from politics.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The retreat of the Continental Congress took them deep into central Pennsylvania, out beyond Lancaster. Richard Brady, National Review, "Valley of the Shadow," 31 Aug. 2019 The rapid retreat of the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland offers some evidence to back this up. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 Several particularly notable moments of wind-flipping, like in the 1970s, matched up closely with major retreats of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "West Antarctica is melting—and it’s our fault," 12 Aug. 2019 In the fifth episode of the new season of Succession, the scabrous Roy family find themselves at the country retreat of a liberal-media doyenne, Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones), and in the entirely unfamiliar situation of having to play nice. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Succession Is Better Than Ever," 11 Aug. 2019 This means that, since the retreat of most recent glaciers beginning about 17,000 years ago, all species here—humans, animals, and plants—are immigrants to a new land, formed in fire and sculpted by ice. courant.com, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 6 June 2019 Sardinia contains many worlds: the glitzy Costa Smeralda; the Catalonian retreat of Alghero; the wild mountain coastlines both east and west; practical, insular Barbagia; the rice fields of diligent Oristano. Kyre Chenven, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Sardinia’s Wild Side, Head to Sulcis," 12 Oct. 2018 The collaboration included a panel on prosecutor races last fall at the closed-door retreat of Democracy Alliance, a coalition of groups and leaders who pool their resources behind liberal causes. Abbie Vansickle, latimes.com, "Here's why George Soros, liberal groups are spending big to help decide who's your next D.A.," 23 May 2018 Factor in the retreat of international buyers from China and elsewhere, recession fears, and the fact that elections tend to roil investors, and there are a number of new challenges worsening an already oversupplied market. New York Times, "One in Four of New York’s New Luxury Apartments Is Unsold," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When police moved in, the protesters had again retreated. Ken Moritsugu, Fox News, "Hong Kong police storm subway with batons as protests rage," 1 Sep. 2019 And while some countries have recently retreated from the world stage amid nationalist fervor, the ease of air travel has created a strong countercurrent of travelers looking to learn from other cultures. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change. A new global movement wants you to be ashamed to fly.," 1 Aug. 2019 The resolution, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also enshrines the two-state outcome to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at a time that the Trump administration and Israel’s government have retreated from the concept. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "House overwhelmingly condemns Israel boycott movement in resolution vote," 24 July 2019 His army invaded this vast neighbor, with covert U.S. military assistance, ostensibly to fight the Hutu génocidaires who had retreated there. Maggie Calt, Harper's magazine, "Brutal from the Beginning," 22 July 2019 Cura’s executive chairman and former CEO, Nitin Khanna, was a Portland tech entrepreneur who retreated from the city’s technology scene in 2014 after settling a civil suit brought by his wife’s hairdresser who accused him of rape. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive.com, "Curaleaf says it will be ‘world’s largest cannabis company’ after $875 million deal," 17 July 2019 Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes have largely retreated from public life since the tragic death of their sister, Princess Diana; however, the two women were included in Prince Harry's son Archie's christening this summer. Olivia Blair, Town & Country, "Who Are Princess Diana's Sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes?," 6 July 2019 Before the morning ceremony, protesters trying to force their way to the square were driven back by officers with plastic shields and batons, the retreating protesters pointing open umbrellas to ward off pepper spray. Ken Moritsugu, chicagotribune.com, "Protests escalate as Hong Kong marks handover to China," 1 July 2019 Before the morning ceremony, protesters trying to force their way to the square were driven back by officers with plastic shields and batons, the retreating protesters pointing open umbrellas to ward off pepper spray. Ken Moritsugu, Anchorage Daily News, "Hong Kong police clear protesters who occupied legislative building on handover anniversary," 1 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retreat.' 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 retreat

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for retreat

Noun

Middle English retret, from Anglo-French retrait, from past participle of retraire to withdraw, from Latin retrahere, from re- + trahere to draw

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Statistics for retreat

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for retreat

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

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More Definitions for retreat

retreat

noun
How to pronounce retreat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of retreat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: movement by soldiers away from an enemy because the enemy is winning or has won a battle
: movement away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.
: the act of changing your opinion or position on something because it is unpopular

retreat

verb

English Language Learners Definition of retreat (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move back to get away from danger, attack, etc.
: to move or go away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.
: to change your opinion or statement about something because it is unpopular

retreat

noun
re·​treat | \ ri-ˈtrēt How to pronounce retreat (audio) \

Kids Definition of retreat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act of going back or away especially from something dangerous, difficult, or disagreeable The enemy is in retreat.
2 : a military signal for turning away from the enemy He sounded the retreat.
3 : a place of privacy or safety a mountain retreat
4 : a period of time in which a person goes away to pray, think quietly, or study

retreat

verb
retreated; retreating

Kids Definition of retreat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move back or away especially from something dangerous, difficult, or disagreeable The troops retreated at nightfall.
2 : to go to a place of privacy or safety The family retreated to their summer home.

retreat

noun
re·​treat

Legal Definition of retreat

: the act or process of withdrawing from a dangerous situation

Note: Many jurisdictions require that a person must have at least attempted a retreat, if it was possible to do so with safety, in order for a defense of self-defense to prevail. Retreat from an attack in one's own home, however, is usually not required.

Other Words from retreat

retreat verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on retreat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retreat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retreat

Spanish Central: Translation of retreat

Nglish: Translation of retreat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retreat for Arabic Speakers

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