- a going back or backward; withdrawal in the face of opposition or from a dangerous or unpleasant situation
- withdrawal to a safe or private place
- a safe, quiet, or secluded place
- a period of retirement or seclusion, for an individual or a group, for prayer, study, spiritual renewal, etc.
- an organized group withdrawal from regular activities for a given purpose, as by colleagues meeting away from the office and engaging in exercises for promoting teamwork, creativity, etc.
- a residential institution for the care of the aged, mentally ill, etc.
- the withdrawal of troops, ships, etc. from a position, esp. when forced by enemy attack
- a signal for such a withdrawal
- a signal given by bugle or drum at sunset for lowering the national flag
- the ceremony at which this is done
Origin of retreatMiddle English retret from Old French retraite from past participle of retraire, to draw back from Classical Latin retrahere: see retract
- to withdraw; make a retreat
- to slope backward
Origin of retreatME retreten
- to lead or draw back
- Chess to withdraw (a piece), as from a dangerous position
beat a retreat
- Mil. to signal for retreat by beating a drum
- to retreat in a hurry