- a flag-lowering ceremony held at sunset on a military post.
- the bugle call or drumbeat played at this ceremony.
verb (used without object)
Origin of retreat
Synonyms for retreat
Antonyms for retreat
verb (mainly intr)
- a withdrawal or retirement in the face of the enemy
- a bugle call signifying withdrawal or retirement, esp (formerly) to within a defended fortification
Word Origin for retreat
c.1300, "a step backward;" late 14c., "act of retiring or withdrawing; military signal for retiring from action or exercise," from Old French retret, noun use of past participle of retrere "draw back," from Latin retrahere "draw back, withdraw, call back," from re- "back" (see re-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "place of seclusion" is from early 15c.; sense of "establishment for mentally ill persons" is from 1797. Meaning "period of retirement for religious self-examination" is from 1756.
early 15c., "to draw in, draw back, leave the extremities," from retreat (n.) and in part from Old French retret, past participle of retrere. Meaning "to fall back from battle" is mid-15c. Related: Retreated; retreating.
beat a retreat
Also, beat a hasty retreat. Reverse course or withdraw, usually quickly. For example, I really don't want to run into Jeff—let's beat a retreat. This term originally (1300s) referred to the military practice of sounding drums to call back troops. Today it is used only figuratively, as in the example above.
see beat a retreat.