American English

Definition of retreat noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    from danger/defeat
  1. 1[countable, usually singular, uncountable] a movement away from a place or an enemy because of danger or defeat Napoleon's retreat from Moscow The army was in full retreat (= retreating very quickly). to sound the retreat (= to give a loud signal for an army to move away) Topic CollocationsWar and Peacestarting a war declare/wage war (on somebody/something) go to war (against/with somebody) cause/spark/provoke/foment/quell unrest incite/lead/crush/suppress a revolt/rebellion launch/mount/carry out a surprise/terrorist attack prevent/halt/represent an escalation of the conflict be torn apart by/be on the brink of civil war enter/invade/occupy somebody's territory lead/launch/resist/repel an invasionmilitary operations adopt/develop/implement/pursue a military strategy carry out/execute/perform military operations/maneuvers send/deploy/station/pull back/withdraw troops go on/fly/carry out a reconnaissance/rescue mission train/equip/deploy army/military/combat units lead/launch/conduct an (air/airborne/amphibious) attack/a surprise attack (on somebody); an assault/a raid (on somebody) employ/use guerrilla tactics conduct/wage biological/guerrilla warfare fight/crush/defeat the rebels/the insurgency suffer/inflict a crushing defeat achieve/win a decisive victory halt/stop the American/German advance order/force a retreatfighting join/serve in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard/reserves be/go/remain/serve on active duty do/complete/return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/strike/engage/defeat/kill/destroy the enemy witness/see/report/be engaged in heavy fighting call for/be met with armed resistance come under heavy/machine-gun/mortar fire fire a machine gun/mortar shells/rockets (at somebody/something) shoot a rifle/a pistol/bullets/missiles launch/fire a(n) cruise/ballistic/anti-tank missile use biological/chemical/nuclear weapons inflict/suffer/sustain heavy losses/casualties be hit/killed by enemy/friendly/artillery fire become/be held as/be taken as a prisoner of warcivilians in war harm/kill/target/protect innocent/unarmed civilians cause/avoid/limit/minimize civilian casualties/collateral damage impose/enforce/lift a curfew engage in/be a victim of ethnic cleansing be sent to a concentration/an internment camp accept/house/resettle/turn away refugees fleeing from war fear/threaten military/violent reprisals commit/be accused of war crimes/crimes against humanity/genocidemaking peace make/bring/win/achieve/maintain/promote peace call for/negotiate/broker/declare a ceasefire/a temporary truce sign a ceasefire agreement call for/bring/put an end to hostilities demand/negotiate/accept the surrender of somebody/something establish/send (in) a peacekeeping force negotiate/conclude/ratify/sign/accept/reject/break/violate a peace treaty
  2. escape
  3. 2[countable, usually singular, uncountable] retreat (from/into something) an act of trying to escape from a particular situation to one that you think is safer or more pleasant synonym escape Is watching television a retreat from reality?
  4. change of decision
  5. 3[countable, usually singular] an act of changing a decision because of criticism or because a situation has become too difficult The Senator made an embarrassing retreat from his earlier position.
  6. quiet place
  7. 4[countable] a quiet, private place that you go to in order to get away from your usual life a country retreat
  8. 5[uncountable, countable] a period of time when someone stops their usual activities and goes to a quiet place for prayer, thought, etc.; an organized event when people can do this He went into retreat and tried to resolve the conflicts within himself. to go on a Buddhist retreat a weeklong retreat to develop teamwork
  9. Idioms
    beat a (hasty) retreat
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    to go away or back quickly, especially to avoid something unpleasant
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: retreat