Definition of retrench in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈtrɛn(t)ʃ/


[no object]
1(Of an organization or individual) reduce costs or spending in response to economic difficulty: as a result of the recession the company retrenched [with object]: if people are forced to retrench their expenditure trade will suffer
More example sentences
  • When troubles start, they understandably retrench their consumption and begin to build savings in anticipation of dimmer times to come.
  • As profits are squeezed, firms are forced to retrench.
  • Many homeowners, through mortgage refinancing and home equity loans, have largely withdrawn their home equity to support high rates of spending and can be expected to retrench.
economize, cut back, make cutbacks, make savings, make economies, reduce expenditure, be economical, be sparing, be frugal, budget, tighten one's belt, husband one's resources, draw in one's horns, save, scrimp and save, cut corners
1.1 [with object] Australian & South African Make (an employee) redundant: if there are excess staff they should be retrenched
More example sentences
  • Many employees are retrenched or retired with little or no preparation about life after leaving employment.
  • About 300 employees were retrenched when the companies were placed in provisional liquidation.
  • If it is necessary to retrench employees, packages will be determined according to the law.
1.2 [with object] formal Reduce (something) in extent or quantity: right-wing parties which seek to retrench the welfare state
More example sentences
  • Speculation that the company was retrenching part of its activities in Essex, especially at Dunton, has been dismissed as ‘totally incorrect and totally without any foundation’ by a spokesman at Warley.
  • At the same time, the Inuit Art Foundation closed its art boutique in downtown Ottawa and retrenched its activities and sales in suburban Nepean.
  • There are various reasons, then, why many citizens have supported right-wing parties which seek to retrench the welfare state.
reduce, cut, cut back, cut down, cut back on, pare, pare down, slim down, bring down, make reductions in, make cutbacks in, trim, prune, whittle away/down, salami-slice, take off, decrease, lower, lessen, shorten, curtail, truncate, shrink, diminish, minimize
informal slash, axe


Late 16th century (in the now formal usage): from obsolete French retrencher, variant of retrancher, from re- (expressing reversal) + trancher 'to cut, slice'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|trench

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