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



    BrE BrE//rɪˈtriːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtriːt//
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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) CollocationsWar and peaceStarting a war declare/​make/​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/​manoeuvres/(especially US English) 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 a raid/​a surprise attack/​an (air/​airborne/​amphibious) assault (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 British/​German/​Russian advance order/​force a retreatFighting join/​serve in the army/​navy/​air force be/​go/​remain/​serve on active duty serve/​complete/​return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/​strike/​engage/​defeat/​kill/​destroy the enemy 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 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 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 an internment/​a concentration camp accept/​house/​resettle 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 somebody stops their usual activities and goes to a quiet place for prayer and thought; 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
  9. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French retret (noun), retraiter (verb), from Latin retrahere ‘pull back’, from re- ‘back’ + trahere ‘drag’.Extra examples Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland Eventually the police forced the crowd into retreat. He took part in the retreat from Paris. He went into retreat at his country home to escape the attention of the media. I decided to beat a hasty retreat. I made a tactful retreat before they started arguing. I went off on one of my annual retreats. I went on a ten-day silent retreat. On the eastern front the army was in full retreat. She goes on a spiritual retreat for two weeks every summer. She plans to use it as a winter retreat. The enemy was now in retreat. The family held its first retreat last October. They are staying here at their secret retreat from life in the city. We covered his retreat with bursts of gunfire. We succeeded in cutting off the enemy’s line of retreat. Zen Mountain offers numerous wilderness retreats. a summer retreat for the rich an ignominious retreat to the River Vistula designed as a gentleman’s country retreat fresh evidence that trade unionism is on the retreat her retreat into a fantasy world of her own the perfect retreat for a romantic honeymoon He went on a Buddhist retreat. Hitler’s retreat from Russia She bought the cottage as a weekend retreat. The senator made an embarrassing retreat from his earlier position.Idioms to go away or back quickly, especially to avoid something unpleasant
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: retreat