retreat

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beat a (hasty) retreat

To leave a place or situation quickly. I beat a hasty retreat when I saw my ex-boyfriend walk into the party. When the rain started, everyone on the field beat a retreat indoors.
See also: beat, retreat

beat a (hasty) retreat

to withdraw from a place very quickly. We went out into the cold weather, but beat a retreat to the warmth of our fire. The dog beat a hasty retreat to its own yard.
See also: beat, retreat

retreat (from something) (to some place)

to withdraw from something to some place. The army retreated from the battlefield to the safety of the forest. They retreated to the other side of the river.

beat a retreat

Also, beat a hasty retreat. Reverse course or withdraw, usually quickly. For example, I really don't want to run into Jeff-let's beat a retreat. This term originally (1300s) referred to the military practice of sounding drums to call back troops. Today it is used only figuratively, as in the example above.
See also: beat, retreat

beat a hasty retreat

If you beat a hasty retreat, you leave a place quickly in order to avoid an embarrassing or dangerous situation. Cockburn decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat. Note: People sometimes just say that someone beats a retreat. I can still beat a retreat to my own hotel, and pretend that none of this ever happened. Note: Other adjectives such as quick and rapid are sometimes used instead of hasty. You weren't tempted to change your mind and beat a quick retreat?
See also: beat, hasty, retreat

beat a hasty retreat

withdraw, typically in order to avoid something unpleasant.
In former times, a drumbeat could be used to keep soldiers in step while they were retreating.
See also: beat, hasty, retreat

beat a (hasty) reˈtreat

go away quickly from somebody/something: I had a terrible headache from all the noise and smoke at the party, so my wife and I beat a hasty retreat.In the past, the beat of a drum was sometimes used to keep soldiers marching in the same rhythm when they were retreating (= moving away from the enemy).
See also: beat, retreat

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

beat a retreat

To make a hasty withdrawal.
See also: beat, retreat
References in classic literature ?
The former retreated to their pavilions, and the latter, gathering themselves up as they could, withdrew from the lists in disgrace and dejection, to agree with their victors concerning the redemption of their arms and their horses, which, according to the laws of the tournament, they had forfeited.
Setting out again in the evening, we passed so near a village where these robbers had retreated that the dogs barked after us.
But I did not stay to look, I promise you: I retreated again, and when my second match had ended, I struck my third.
They slowly retreated, with their faces still toward the spluttering woods, and their hot rifles still replying to the din.
It was evident a party of Blackfeet had been frightened from their hunting camp, and had retreated, probably to seek reinforcements.
The bear again lowered himself on all fours, retreated some twenty yards further, and again turned, reared, showed his teeth, and growled.
Grasping my long-sword tightly in my hand, I backed slowly along the corridor away from the thing that watched me, but ever as I retreated the eyes advanced, nor was there any sound, not even the sound of breathing, except the occasional shuffling sound as of the dragging of a dead limb, that had first attracted my attention.
The dogs in the past who retreated had been rejected by men.
White Fang, on the verge of retreat, would have retreated, leaving the meat to him.