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Capable of being drawn back. A walrus with fiery eyes … retractile from external injuries. – Pennant.


Recalling; disavowing; recanting.

RE-TRACT'ION, n. [from retract.]

  1. The act of withdrawing something advanced, or changing something done. – Woodward.
  2. Recantation; disavowal of the truth of what has been said; declaration of change of opinion. – Sidney.
  3. Act of withdrawing a claim. Other men's insatiable desire of revenge, hath beguiled church and state of the benefit of my retractions or concessions. – K. Charles.


Withdrawing; taking from.


That which withdraws or takes from.


By retraction or withdrawing.


Retreat. [Obs.] [See Retreat.] – Bacon.

RE-TRAIT', n. [It. ritratto, from ritrarre, to draw.]

A cast of countenance; a picture. [Obs.] – Spenser.

RE-TRAX'IT, n. [L. retraho, retraxi.]

In law, the withdrawing or open renunciation of a suit in court, by which the plaintif loses his action. – Blackstone.

RE-TREAD', v.i.

To tread again.

RE-TREAT', n. [Fr. retraite, from retraire; re and traire, to draw; L. retractus, retraho; re and traho; It. ritratta.]

  1. The act of retiring; a withdrawing of one's self from any place. But beauty's triumph is well tim'd retreat. – Pope.
  2. Retirement; state of privacy or seclusion from noise, bustle or company. Here in the calm still mirror of retreat. – Pope.
  3. Place of retirement or privacy. He built his on a house of pleasure … and spared no cost to make it a delicious retreat. – L'Estrange.
  4. Place of safety or security. That pleasing shade they sought, a soft retreat / From sudden April show'rs, a shelter from the heat. – Dryden.
  5. In military affairs, the retiring of an army or body of men from the face of an enemy or from any ground occupied to a greater distance from the enemy, or from an advanced position. A retreat is properly an orderly march, in which circumstance it differs from a flight. – Encyc.
  6. The withdrawing of a ship or fleet from an enemy; or the order and disposition of ships declining an engagement.
  7. The beat of the drum at the firing of the evening gun, to warn soldiers to forbear firing and the sentinels to challenge. – Encyc.

RE-TREAT', v.i.

  1. To retire from any position or place.
  2. To withdraw to a private abode or to any secluded situation. – Milton.
  3. To retire to a place of safety or security; as, to retreat into a den or into a fort.
  4. To move back to a place before occupied; to retire. The rapid currents drive, / Toward the retreating sea, their furious tide. – Milton.
  5. To retire from an enemy or from any advanced position.

RE-TREAT'ED, pp. [as a passive participle, though used by Milton, is not good English.]

RE-TRENCH', v.i.

To live at less expense. It is more reputable to retrench than to live embarrassed.

RE-TRENCH', v.t. [Fr. retrancher; re and trancher, to cut; It. trincea, a trench; trincerare, to intrench; trinciare, to carve; W. trycu, to cut.]

  1. To cut off; to pare away. And thy exuberant parts retrench. – Denham.
  2. To lessen; to abridge; to curtail; as, to retrench superfluities or expenses. – Atterbury.
  3. To confine; to limit. [Not proper.] – Addison.


Cut off; curtailed; diminished.


Cutting off; curtailing.

RE-TRENCH'MENT, a. [Fr. retrenchment; Sp. atrincheramiento.]

  1. The act of lopping off; the act of removing what is superfluous; as, the retrenchment of words or lines in a writing. – Dryden. Addison.
  2. The act of curtailing, lessening or abridging; diminution; as, the retrenchment of expenses.
  3. In military affairs, any work raised to cover a post and fortify it against an enemy; such as fascines, gabions, sandbags and the like. – Encyc. Numerous remains of Roman retrenchments, constructed to cover the country. – D'Anville, Trans.

RE-TRIB'UTE, v.t. [Fr. retribuer; L. retribuo; re and tribuo, to give or bestow.]

To pay back; to make payment, compensation or reward in return; as, to retribute one for his kindness; to retribute to a criminal what is proportionate to his offense. – Locke.


Paid back; given in return; rewarded.


One that makes retribution.


Requiting; making repayment; rewarding.

RET-RI-BU'TION, n. [Fr.]

  1. Repayment; return accommodated to the action; reward; compensation. In good offices and due retributions, we may not be pinching and niggardly. – Hall.
  2. A gratuity or present given for services in the place of a salary. – Encyc.
  3. The distribution of rewards and punishments at the general judgment. It is a strong argument for a state of retribution hereafter, that in this world virtuous persons are very often unfortunate, and vicious persons prosperous. – Spectator.


Repaying; rewarding for good deeds, and punishing for offenses; as, retributive justice.

RE-TRIEV'A-BLE, a. [from retrieve.]

That may be retrieved or recovered. – Gray.