verb (used with or without object)

to treat again.

Origin of re-treat

First recorded in 1880–85; re- + treat
Can be confusedre-treat retreat




the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.
the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.
an asylum, as for the insane.
a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
  1. a flag-lowering ceremony held at sunset on a military post.
  2. the bugle call or drumbeat played at this ceremony.
the recession of a surface, as a wall or panel, from another surface beside it.

verb (used without object)

to withdraw, retire, or draw back, especially for shelter or seclusion.
to make a retreat: The army retreated.
to slope backward; recede: a retreating chin.
to draw or lead back.


    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 formsre·treat·al, adjectivere·treat·er, nounre·treat·ive, adjective
Can be confusedre-treat retreat

Synonyms for retreat

2. departure, withdrawal. 3. shelter. 8. leave, pull back.

Synonym study

8. See depart.

Antonyms for retreat

1, 8, 9. advance. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retreated

Contemporary Examples of retreated

Historical Examples of retreated

  • Mrs. McKee knew herself routed, and retreated to the kitchen.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • As they retreated, many took refuge in the village of Jalalkot.

  • He went nearer to her, and as he did so, she retreated further into the shadow.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • But the British have retreated, you say, and there was a sortie from the fort?

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • The driver closed the window again as he retreated, and they were alone.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for retreated


verb (mainly intr)

military to withdraw or retire in the face of or from action with an enemy, either due to defeat or in order to adopt a more favourable position
to retire or withdraw, as to seclusion or shelter
(of a person's features) to slope back; recede
(tr) chess to move (a piece) back


the act of retreating or withdrawing
  1. a withdrawal or retirement in the face of the enemy
  2. a bugle call signifying withdrawal or retirement, esp (formerly) to within a defended fortification
retirement or seclusion
a place, such as a sanatorium or monastery, to which one may retire for refuge, quiet, etc
a period of seclusion, esp for religious contemplation
an institution, esp a private one, for the care and treatment of people who are mentally ill, infirm, elderly, etc

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

Word Origin and History for retreated



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with retreated


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.