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a. The act or process of moving back or away, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant: made a retreat from hectic city life to the country.
b. Withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack.
c. The process of receding from a position or of becoming smaller: glaciers in retreat from positions of advancement.
d. The process of changing or undergoing change in one's thinking or in a position: a leader's retreat from political radicalism.
e. A decline in value: a retreat in housing prices.
2. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. See Synonyms at shelter.
a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study: a religious retreat.
a. The signal for a military withdrawal: Sound the retreat!
b. A bugle call or drumbeat signaling the lowering of the flag at sunset, as on a military base.
c. The military ceremony of lowering the flag.
v. re·treat·ed, re·treat·ing, re·treats
1. To move backward or away; withdraw or retire: retreated to his study. See Synonyms at recede1.
2. To make a military retreat.
3. To move back from a position of advancement or become smaller: land that emerged when the oceans retreated.
4. To change or undergo change in one's thinking or in a position: They retreated from their demands.
5. To decline in value: Stocks retreated in morning trading. Games
To move (a chess piece) back.

[Middle English retret, from Old French retrait, retret, from past participle of retraire, retrere, to draw back, from Latin retrahere; see retract.]

re·treat′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a person who retreats
2. a defective maximum-minimum thermometer in which the mercury can flow too freely
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
After The Alaskan Retreater's Notebook came out the publisher expressed an interest in this book, so I finally got it done.
The Retreater theme addresses consumers' growing need to regularly withdraw from the pressures, chaos and over-stimulation that so often come with daily life, and create hygge--a popular Danish concept that embodies all things comforting and cozy.
The one category you don't want to find yourself in is that of a retreater, Schlossberg says.
Despite its quiet setting, the monastery attracts an array of characters, including a reformed cat killer, a headphone-stealing fellow retreater, an orphaned violinist, and an arrogant almost-PhD.
Though Dewey may overemphasize the degree to which this novel marks a break (James Axton is also a failure at engaging, a retreater, a would-be ascetic), Dewey reads this underappreciated novel assiduously, aptly pointing out its relative warmth and concluding with a powerful summation of its pivotal role in the DeLillo oeuvre and its embrace of narrative as an aesthetic system.