[ ri-treet ]
/ rɪˈtrit /


verb (used without object)


    beat a retreat, to withdraw or retreat, especially hurriedly or in disgrace.

Origin of retreat

1300–50; (noun) Middle English retret < Old French, variant of retrait, noun use of past participle of retraire to draw back < Latin retrahere (re- re- + trahere to draw; see retract1); (v.) late Middle English retreten < Middle French retraitier < Latin retractāre to retract2

Related forms

re·treat·al, adjectivere·treat·er, nounre·treat·ive, adjective

Can be confused

re-treat retreat

Synonym study

8. See depart.

Definition for retreat (2 of 2)


[ ree-treet ]
/ riˈtrit /

verb (used with or without object)

to treat again.

Origin of re-treat

First recorded in 1880–85; re- + treat

Can be confused

re-treat retreat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retreat

British Dictionary definitions for retreat


/ (rɪˈtriːt) /

verb (mainly intr)


Word Origin for retreat

C14: from Old French retret, from retraire to withdraw, from Latin retrahere to pull back; see retract
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

Idioms and Phrases with retreat


see beat a retreat.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.