withdraw into (one's) shell

(redirected from withdrew into their shell)

withdraw 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 withdrew 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 withdraw into my shell and wait until I can be alone. Don't withdraw 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 withdrew into their shells after halftime, trying to protect a slim lead. The senator withdrew into his shell when reporters tried to question him about allegations of tax fraud.
See also: shell, withdraw

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 periodicals archive ?
Rangers then withdrew into their shell and Celtic looked to be the team who enjoyed the last half hour when they should have been under the cosh.
But, inexplicably, as Sweden threw on attacker after attacker, Italy withdrew into their shell and decided to sit back and defend which just invited their opponents on to them.
As soon as opener Virender Sehwag ran himself out attempting to pinch a quick single, India withdrew into their shells and batted out time against England's impressive trio of seamers.
As soon as opener Virender Sehwag ran himself out attempting to pinch a quick single, India withdrew into their shells and were happy to bat out time against England's impressive trio of seamers.
Strangled by fear, Ireland withdrew into their shells in the second half, inviting pressure from the Welsh.
The hosts were soon calling the tune big time as the usually bold Hammers withdrew into their shells.