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

pullback, pullout, recession, retirement, withdrawal

Synonyms: Verb

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

Antonyms: Noun

advance, advancement

Antonyms: Verb

advance

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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

Biden is becoming a conviction contortionist, as with his retreat from 40 years of support for the Hyde amendment. George Will, National Review, "How Can Presidential Candidates Be So Silly?," 7 July 2019 Biden is becoming a conviction contortionist, as with his retreat from 40 years of support for the Hyde Amendment. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: How can presidential candidates be so silly?," 7 July 2019 After that, relax in your master bath retreat complete with both standard and rain heads in the Master Bath shower with frameless shower doors. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "Condo Life: Luxury high-rise spotlight on The Astoria," 30 June 2019 Less is known about his life due to his longterm estrangement from Vanderbilt and her other children, and his general retreat from public life. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Inside Gloria Vanderbilt's Complicated Relationships with Her Sons," 17 June 2019 The company recently bought a large jet, and plans to roll out a new private plane service to shuttle guests to their retreats. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "A Russian Billionaire’s $1.3 Billion Bet on New York’s Iconic Crown Building," 13 June 2019 The relaxed environment feels homey and immensely welcoming, as if BTS opened up their private retreat up to the public to take part in. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "BTS Commemorate 6th Anniversary With Reflective 'Bangtan Attic' Video," 12 June 2019 Their retreat is a sign that the Earth’s climate is warming. Eric Knight, National Geographic, "One of the snowiest places on Earth is losing its glaciers," 12 June 2019 The Starlight at the Bathhouse package offers an after-hours soak and steam retreat, plus sparkling wine and dessert. Amber Turpin, The Mercury News, "Napa Valley weekend: Calistoga wining, dining and spas," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The actors union eventually retreated from its opposition to the casting. San Diego Union-Tribune, "For San Diego-raised actor Jackie Nguyen, ‘Miss Saigon’ has been a major part of her art and life," 30 June 2019 Bonsib said Beckwitt screamed for help from neighbors after the fire broke out and tried to rescue his friend from the blaze before heavy smoke and flames forced him to retreat. Michael Kunzelman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland millionaire gets 9 years in death of man building nuclear bunker tunnels," 17 June 2019 Bonsib said Beckwitt screamed for help from neighbors after the fire broke out and tried to rescue his friend from the blaze before heavy smoke and flames forced him to retreat. Michael Kunzelman, BostonGlobe.com, "Millionaire gets 9 years for deadly fire above tunnels," 17 June 2019 Bonsib said Beckwitt screamed for help from neighbors after the fire broke out and tried to rescue his friend from the blaze before heavy smoke and flames forced him to retreat. Washington Post, "Millionaire gets 9 years for deadly fire above tunnels," 17 June 2019 Police in riot gear retreated as the protesters entered about 9 p.m., avoiding a confrontation and giving them the run of the building. Washington Post, "Protesters in Hong Kong break into legislature, paint logos," 1 July 2019 Police in riot gear retreated as the protesters entered about 9 p.m., avoiding a confrontation and giving them the run of the building. Ken Moritsugu, Anchorage Daily News, "Hong Kong police clear protesters who occupied legislative building on handover anniversary," 1 July 2019 Police initially retreated as the protesters entered, avoiding a confrontation and giving them the run of the building. Ken Moritsugo, SFChronicle.com, "Hong Kong protesters target legislature in violent display of rage," 1 July 2019 Barron immediately retreated, and later sprayed hornet killer on the nest. Mariel Padilla, BostonGlobe.com, "Officials warn of wasp ‘super nests’ in Alabama," 30 June 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

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retreat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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