retreat into (one's) shell

(redirected from retreat into his shell)

retreat into (one's) shell

1. To retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations, or interactions with people. After getting mugged I retreated into my shell and didn't speak to anyone for nearly a week. I'm not good around large groups of people; I usually just retreat into my shell and wait until I can be alone. Don't retreat into your shell because you don't want an argument—talk to me and let's discuss the problem!
2. To act in a reserved and/or defensive manner. The team retreated into their shells after half time, trying to protect a slim lead. The senator retreated into his shell when reporters tried to question him about allegations of tax fraud.
See also: retreat, shell

go, retreat, withdraw, etc. into your ˈshell

become more shy and avoid talking to other people: If you ask him about his family, he goes into his shell.
See also: shell
References in classic literature ?
By giving him, so to speak, a definite position, I shall put him out of suspense and set his mind at rest, so that he will retreat into his shell.
For youngster McIlroy, playing in his first Ryder Cup, the fear was he'd retreat into his shell after two such bodyblows.
Palermo defender Simon Kjaer has promised to dish out a few whacks to Ronaldo and there is still the nagging fear that the world's most expensive footballer could retreat into his shell as he occasionally does when the stakes are massive.
Kidney said: "He missed those penalties but didn't retreat into his shell.
But Friend refuses to retreat into his shell and wants to have a regular crack at the Championship instead of warming the bench.
The pair play second on centre court today and British number three Bogdanovic knows he must not retreat into his shell if he is to upset the big-hitting American.
Everybody wants to see wide players running at defenders and getting shots and crosses in, but he got himself into such a state because of what was coming from the stands that he started to retreat into his shell.
Only when the discussion touched too closely on the progress of his writing did Bernhard retreat into his shell.
Viduka made it two, with a powerful header, just seconds after a miss which could have seen him retreat into his shell.
The Reds will be rightly feeling good about themselves after winning 2-1 in Barcelona in the first leg, but I'd be worried that Rafa Benitez might retreat into his shell.
STEVE McCLAREN is ready to retreat into his shell and that is good news for prospective Everton backers.