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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from retreat

Verb

retreater noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for retreat

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The famous 12-acre garden retreat in the heart of Marrakech is also home to one of the most stunning and eye-catching examples of art deco architecture. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 9 Oct. 2021 This retreat to maturity is brought to you by the wisdom of young people. Dan Neil, WSJ, 7 Oct. 2021 With the coronavirus in retreat around the Bay Area, the eight counties with universal mask mandates for indoor activities are planning to lift them as soon as certain benchmarks are met. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Oct. 2021 An idyllic retreat set in the hills of Ravello, Palazzo Avino is a veritable pink mirage perched above Italy’s legendary Amalfi Coast. Livia Hengel, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 This is also a piece that needs a vulnerable performer who can both command the spotlight as a star and retreat like Ms. Cellophane where needed. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 3 Oct. 2021 Nursing homes should only be allowed to evacuate to other types of residential facilities, such as hotels, dormitories, or retreat centers, to protect the basic health and safety of residents, said Denise Bottcher, AARP Louisiana’s state director. NBC News, 30 Sep. 2021 Because of a big sack by rookie Osa Odighizuwa and a holding penalty, the Eagles are in full retreat. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 29 Sep. 2021 Belle and Austin make moves to clean up the town and preserve their snack supply and their formerly quiet writers’ retreat by targeting Harry, Alma, and Ursula as the vermin that needs fumigating. Kelly Mcclure, Vulture, 24 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After struggling to initially find acceptance in her community, this Fijian beauty chose not to retreat, and instead greets every new drag opportunity with love and openness. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 5 Oct. 2021 Assuming the lava sticks around for a bit and doesn’t retreat back underground, visitation to the National Park will surely increase, as will helicopter fly-over tours. Will Mcgough, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 San Diego officials are giving city workers an extra month to comply with the new COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but the city won’t retreat from the requirement despite aggressive lobbying by the police officers labor union. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Sep. 2021 As migrants surged to the border, Republicans attacked the new administration on multiple fronts, forcing the president to retreat from key campaign promises and angering some in his base. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 7 Sep. 2021 At least one hyena died in the fight, but the lion eventually had to retreat, running to safety in a nearby marsh. Travel + Leisure, 30 July 2021 On Monday, flames forced the evacuation of a wildlife research station as firefighters had to retreat for the ninth consecutive day due to erratic and dangerous fire behavior. Gillian Flaccus, ajc, 20 July 2021 On Monday, flames forced the evacuation of a wildlife research station as firefighters had to retreat for the ninth consecutive day due to erratic and dangerous fire behavior. Gillian Flaccus, Anchorage Daily News, 20 July 2021 On Monday, flames forced the evacuation of a wildlife research station as firefighters had to retreat for the ninth consecutive day due to erratic and dangerous fire behavior. Gillian Flaccus, chicagotribune.com, 20 July 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About retreat

Time Traveler for retreat

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near retreat

re-tread

retreat

retreatal

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for retreat

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retreat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retreat. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on retreat

Nglish: Translation of retreat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retreat for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!