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verb [no object]
(of an army) withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat:the French retreated in disarray move back or withdraw:it becomes so hot that the lizards retreat into the shade a series of trenches which filled with water when the ice retreated (as adjective retreating)the sound of retreating footsteps withdraw to a quiet or secluded place:after the funeral he retreated to the shore change one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, as a result of criticism from others:his proposals were clearly unreasonable and he was soon forced to retreat (of shares of stock) decline in value: [with complement]:shares retreated 32 points to 653 points [with object] Chess move (a piece) back from a forward or threatened position on the board.
1an act of moving back or withdrawing:a speedy retreat the army was in retreat an act of changing one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, especially as a result of criticism from others:the unions made a retreat from their earlier position a decline in the value of shares of stock. 2a signal for a military force to withdraw:the bugle sounded a retreat a military musical ceremony carried out at sunset, originating in the playing of drums and bugles to tell soldiers to return to camp for the night. 3a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax:their mountain retreat in New Hampshire a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation:the bishop is away on his annual retreat before his ordination he went on retreat