retreat into (one's) shell

(redirected from retreated into their shells)

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 halftime, 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
He did end a 25-minute scoreless period for Shamrocks from a free and as Ballinasloe retreated into their shells, the margin reduced to a goal.
They retreated into their shells and tried to play the best teams in Europe on the back foot.
Seven points from nine and progress into the last 16 of the Carling Cup is a good month's work and the doom-mongers have retreated into their shells.
BIHAR'S dreaded dons may have retreated into their shells but the petty thieves and burglars continue to have a field day in the state capital not even sparing the high and mighty.
But grim results at the tail end of last season, with the exception of that win at Celtic Park, gave Aberdeen the sinking feeling and a mainly young squad retreated into their shells.
However, where many players would have retreated into their shells he just tried even harder to get his side back into the game.
Defeat last week at home to Southampton set the alarm bells ringing, but yesterday was the day Boro's well-paid stars truly retreated into their shells.
Slovakia have retreated into their shells since then.
FOR the last few weeks a lot of the negative Liverpool fans have retreated into their shells a bit, no doubt waiting for the next time we don't pick up three points or don't win by four clear goals - that's football,
Not that Coventry had retreated into their shells. Chippo and Hadji both wasted chances on the break and McAllister sent a curling free-kick straight into the arms of Gerrard.