retreat 1 of 2

as in withdrawal
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 & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near retreat

Cite this Entry

“Retreat.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on retreat

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