that retires.
withdrawing from contact with others; reserved; shy.

Origin of retiring

First recorded in 1540–50; retire + -ing2
Related formsre·tir·ing·ly, adverbre·tir·ing·ness, nounnon·re·tir·ing, adjectiveun·re·tir·ing, adjective

Synonyms for retiring



verb (used without object), re·tired, re·tir·ing.

to withdraw, or go away or apart, to a place of privacy, shelter, or seclusion: He retired to his study.
to go to bed: He retired at midnight.
to withdraw from office, business, or active life, usually because of age: to retire at the age of sixty.
to fall back or retreat in an orderly fashion and according to plan, as from battle, an untenable position, danger, etc.
to withdraw or remove oneself: After announcing the guests, the butler retired.

verb (used with object), re·tired, re·tir·ing.

to withdraw from circulation by taking up and paying, as bonds, bills, etc.; redeem.
to withdraw or lead back (troops, ships, etc.), as from battle or danger; retreat.
to remove from active service or the usual field of activity, as an army officer or business executive.
to withdraw (a machine, ship, etc.) permanently from its normal service, usually for scrapping; take out of use.
Sports. to put out (a batter, side, etc.).

noun Literary.

a place of withdrawal; retreat: a cool retire from summer's heat.
retirement or withdrawal, as from worldly matters or the company of others.

Origin of retire

1525–35; < Middle French retirer to withdraw, equivalent to re- re- + tirer to draw
Related formsre·tir·er, noun

Synonyms for retire

Synonym study

5. See depart. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retiring

Contemporary Examples of retiring

Historical Examples of retiring

  • "Most willingly," said Virginia, retiring as Lady Delacour advanced.

  • I took no notice: but on her retiring, I found my cloaths were not in the usual order.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What came before the retiring could have been but a prelude.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • He remained reserved, retiring, inconspicuous, and puzzling to our understanding.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Consequently,' said the other gentleman, retiring on his main position, 'why Row?'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for retiring



shunning contact with others; shy; reserved
Derived Formsretiringly, adverb


verb (mainly intr)

(also tr) to give up or to cause (a person) to give up his work, a post, etc, esp on reaching pensionable age (in Britain and Australia usually 65 for men, 60 for women)
to go away, as into seclusion, for recuperation, etc
to go to bed
to recede or disappearthe sun retired behind the clouds
to withdraw from a sporting contest, esp because of injury
(also tr) to pull back (troops, etc) from battle or an exposed position or (of troops, etc) to fall back
  1. to remove (bills, bonds, shares, etc) from circulation by taking them up and paying for them
  2. to remove (money) from circulation
Derived Formsretirer, noun

Word Origin for retire

C16: from French retirer, from Old French re- + tirer to pull, draw
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 retiring

1580s, "departing, retreating," present participle adjective from retire (v.). Also "fond of retiring, disposed to seclusion," hence "unobtrusive, modest, subdued" (1766).



1530s, of armies, "to retreat," from Middle French retirer "to withdraw (something)," from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French tirer "to draw" (see tirade). Related: Retired; retiring.

Meaning "to withdraw" to some place, especially for the sake of privacy, is recorded from 1530s; sense of "leave an occupation" first attested 1640s (implied in retirement). Meaning "to leave company and go to bed" is from 1660s. Transitive sense is from 1540s, originally "withdraw, lead back" (troops, etc.); meaning "to remove from active service" is from 1680s. Baseball sense of "to put out" is recorded from 1874.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper