Synonyms & Antonyms of retreat

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 an act of moving away especially from something difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable
  • we made a strategic retreat when we realized that we were outnumbered

Synonyms for retreat

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Antonyms for retreat

2 something (as a building) that offers cover from the weather or protection from danger
  • her bedroom served as a retreat from the frequent arguing between her parents
  • the abandoned cabin was a welcome retreat from the storm

Synonyms for retreat

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Synonyms & Antonyms of retreat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to move back or away (as from something difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable)
  • we retreated to the safety of the cellar at the first sign of the tornado

Synonyms for retreat

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Phrases Synonymous with retreat

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Antonyms for retreat

2 to hasten away from something dangerous or frightening
  • the untried soldiers retreated in humiliating disarray almost as soon as the enemy's onslaught began

Synonyms for retreat

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Phrases Synonymous with retreat

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About retreat

How does the verb retreat contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of retreat are back, recede, and retract. While all these words mean "to move backward," retreat implies withdrawal from a point or position reached.

retreating soldiers

When is back a more appropriate choice than retreat?

The words back and retreat are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, back is used with up, down, out, or off to refer to any retrograde motion.

backed off on the throttle

When would recede be a good substitute for retreat?

While the synonyms recede and retreat are close in meaning, recede implies a gradual withdrawing from a forward or high fixed point in time or space.

the flood waters gradually receded

When could retract be used to replace retreat?

The words retract and retreat can be used in similar contexts, but retract implies drawing back from an extended position.

a cat retracting its claws

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Time Traveler for retreat

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

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Cite this Entry

“Retreat.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on retreat

Nglish: Translation of retreat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retreat for Arabic Speakers


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