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duty to retreat

[doo-tee tuh ri-treet, dyoo-tee]
noun Law.
  1. a legal principle that requires a person as a first response to back away or flee from a threatening situation rather than attempt self-defense by deadly force: Duty to retreat has always been a debatable doctrine.
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Origin of duty to retreat

First recorded in 1780–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018