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[ri-trench-muh nt]
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  1. the act of retrenching; a cutting down or off, as by the reduction of expenses.
  2. Fortification. an interior work that cuts off a part of a fortification from the rest, and to which a garrison may retreat.

Origin of retrenchment

From the French word retrenchement, dating back to 1590–1600. See retrench, -ment
Related formsnon·re·trench·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for retrenchment


  1. the act of reducing expenditure in order to improve financial stability
  2. an extra interior fortification to reinforce outer walls
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for retrenchment


"action of lopping off or pruning," c.1600, from obsolete French retrenchement "a cutting off or out," from retrencher (see retrench (v.2)). Military sense is recorded from 1580s; see retrench (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

retrenchment in Medicine


  1. The cutting away of superfluous tissue.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.