Definition of retreat verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːt//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they retreat
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːt//
    he / she / it retreats
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːts//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːts//
    past simple retreated
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːtɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːtɪd//
    past participle retreated
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːtɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːtɪd//
    -ing form retreating
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːtɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːtɪŋ//
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    from danger/defeat
  1. 1[intransitive] to move away from a place or an enemy because you are in danger or because you have been defeated The army was forced to retreat after suffering heavy losses. We retreated back down the mountain. They retreated to a safe distance from the fighting. opposite advance
  2. move away/back
  3. 2[intransitive] to move away or back synonym recede He watched her retreating figure. The flood waters slowly retreated.
  4. change decision
  5. 3[intransitive] + adv./prep. to change your mind about something because of criticism or because a situation has become too difficult synonym back off (from something) The government had retreated from its pledge to reduce class sizes. He told them not to retreat in the face of opposition from the public.
  6. to quiet place
  7. 4[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to escape to a place that is quieter or safer synonym retire Bored with the conversation, she retreated to her bedroom. (figurative) He retreated into a world of fantasy.
  8. finance
  9. 5[intransitive] + noun to lose value Share prices retreated 45p to 538p.
  10. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French retret (noun), retraiter (verb), from Latin retrahere ‘pull back’, from re- ‘back’ + trahere ‘drag’.Extra examples He retreated behind the table. He retreated hastily back to his car. He retreated in the face of strong opposition. He retreated into his own world. I heard her footsteps retreat down the hall. Sandy retreated slowly, wary of what the man might do. She retreated from the busy office to her own room. The army has been ordered to retreat. They retreated before the Americans. She told them not to retreat in the face of opposition from the public.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: retreat