the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.
the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy:
The library was his retreat.
an asylum, as for the insane.
a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
a flag-lowering ceremony held at sunset on a military post.
the bugle call or drumbeat played at this ceremony.
the recession of a surface, as a wall or panel, from another surface beside it.
verb (used without object)
to withdraw, retire, or draw back, especially for shelter or seclusion.
to make a retreat:
The army retreated.
to slope backward; recede:
a retreating chin.
to draw or lead back.
beat a retreat, to withdraw or retreat, especially hurriedly or in disgrace.
1300-50; (noun) Middle Englishretret < Old French, variant of retrait, noun use of past participle of retraire to draw back < Latinretrahere (re-re- + trahere to draw; see retract1); (v.) late Middle Englishretreten < Middle Frenchretraitier < Latinretractāre to retract2
c.1300, from O.Fr. retret, noun use of pp. of retrere "draw back," from L. retrahere "draw back," from re- "back" + trahere "to draw" (see tract (1)). Meaning "place of seclusion" is from 1423; sense of "establishment for mentally ill persons" is from 1797. The verb is first attested 1422.