1

retreat

noun re·treat \ ri-ˈtrēt \

Definition of retreat

1 a (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

Examples of retreat in a Sentence

  1. Some of her friends were surprised by her retreat from public life following her defeat in the election.

  2. we made a strategic retreat when we realized that we were outnumbered

Recent Examples of retreat from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of retreat

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


2

retreat

verb

Definition of retreat

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

retreater

noun

Examples of retreat in a Sentence

  1. When the enemy attacked, our troops were forced to retreat.

  2. They retreated behind trees for safety.

  3. He quickly retreated from the room.

  4. After her defeat, she retreated from politics.

Recent Examples of retreat from the Web

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.

First Known Use of retreat

15th century

retreat Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of retreat

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


RETREAT Defined for English Language Learners

retreat

noun

Definition of retreat for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of retreat for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

retreat

noun re·treat \ ri-ˈtrēt \

Definition of retreat for Students

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

2

retreat

verb

Definition of retreat for Students

retreated; retreating
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.

Law Dictionary

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.

retreat

verb


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