retire (v.) Look up retire at
1530s, of armies, "to retreat," from Middle French retirer "to withdraw (something)," from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French tirer "to draw" (see tirade). Related: Retired; retiring.

Meaning "to withdraw" to some place, especially for the sake of privacy, is recorded from 1530s; sense of "leave an occupation" first attested 1640s (implied in retirement). Meaning "to leave company and go to bed" is from 1660s. Transitive sense is from 1540s, originally "withdraw, lead back" (troops, etc.); meaning "to remove from active service" is from 1680s. Baseball sense of "to put out" is recorded from 1874.
retired (adj.) Look up retired at
1580s, "separated from society or public notice," past participle adjective from retire (v.). Meaning "having given up business" is from 1824. Abbreviation ret'd. attested from 1942.
retiree (n.) Look up retiree at
1945, from retire + -ee.
retirement (n.) Look up retirement at
1590s, "act of retreating," also "act of withdrawing into seclusion," from Middle French retirement (1570s); see retire + -ment. Meaning "privacy" is from c. 1600; that of "withdrawal from occupation or business" is from 1640s.
Solitude is the condition of being absolutely alone, whether or not one has been with others, or desires to escape from them .... Retirement is comparative solitude, produced by retiring, voluntarily or otherwise, from contact which one has had with others. Seclusion is stronger than retirement, implying the shutting out of others from access .... [Century Dictionary]
retiring (adj.) Look up retiring at
1580s, "departing, retreating," present participle adjective from retire (v.). Also "fond of retiring, disposed to seclusion," hence "unobtrusive, modest, subdued" (1766).
retool (v.) Look up retool at
1866, "to shape again with a tool," from re- "back, again" + tool (v.). Meaning "to furnish a factory with new equipment" is recorded from 1940. Related: Retooled; retooling.
retort (v.) Look up retort at
1550s, "make return in kind" (especially of an injury), from Old French retort and directly from Latin retortus, past participle of retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (see torque (n.)). Applied to exchanges of jest or sarcasm by c. 1600, hence "say or utter sharply and aggressively in reply" (1620s). Related: Retorted; retorting.
retort (n.1) Look up retort at
"act of retorting," c. 1600, from retort (v.).
retort (n.2) Look up retort at
"vessel used in chemistry for distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat," c. 1600, from Middle French retorte, from Medieval Latin *retorta "a retort, a vessel with a bent neck," literally "a thing bent or twisted," from past participle stem of Latin retorquere (see retort (v.)).
retortion (n.) Look up retortion at
1590s, from Medieval Latin retortionem (nominative retortio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin retorquere (see retort (v.)).
retouch (v.) Look up retouch at
1640s, from French retoucher (13c.) "to touch again" (with a view to improving), from re- "again" (see re-) + toucher (see touch (v.)).
retrace (v.) Look up retrace at
1690s, from French retracer "to trace again," from Middle French retracier, from re- "again" (see re-) + tracier "to trace" (see trace (v.)). Related: Retraced; retracing.
retract (v.) Look up retract at
early 15c., "to draw (something) back," from Old French retracter (14c.) and directly from Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere "to draw back" (see retraction). Sense of "to revoke, recant, take back" is attested from 1540s, probably a back-formation from retraction. Related: Retracted; retracting.
retractable (adj.) Look up retractable at
"capable of being drawn in," 1769; see retract + -able. Meaning "capable of being disowned" is recorded from 1610s. Also sometimes spelled retractible.
retraction (n.) Look up retraction at
late 14c., "withdrawal of an opinion," from Latin retractionem (nominative retractio) "a drawing back, hesitation, refusal," noun of action from past participle stem of retractare "revoke, cancel," from re- "back" (see re-) + tractere "draw violently," frequentative of trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Originally the title of a book by St. Augustine correcting his former writings. Meaning "recantation of opinion with admission of error" is from 1540s.
retrain (v.) Look up retrain at
1905, from re- "back, again" + train (v.). Related: Retrained; retraining.
retransmission (n.) Look up retransmission at
1788, from re- + transmission.
retread (v.) Look up retread at
"to put a new tread on (a tire)," 1908, from re- "back, again" (see re-) + tread (q.v.). The noun is attested from 1914; in World War I it was Australian slang for "a re-enlisted soldier."
retreat (n.) Look up retreat at
c. 1300, "a step backward;" late 14c., "act of retiring or withdrawing; military signal for retiring from action or exercise," from Old French retret, noun use of past participle of retrere "draw back," from Latin retrahere "draw back, withdraw, call back," from re- "back" (see re-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "place of seclusion" is from early 15c.; sense of "establishment for mentally ill persons" is from 1797. Meaning "period of retirement for religious self-examination" is from 1756.
retreat (v.) Look up retreat at
early 15c., "to draw in, draw back, leave the extremities," from retreat (n.) and in part from Old French retret, past participle of retrere. Meaning "to fall back from battle" is mid-15c. Related: Retreated; retreating.
retrench (v.1) Look up retrench at
1590s, "dig a new trench as a second line of defense," 1590s, probably a back-formation from retrenchment in the military sense. Related: Retrenched; retrenching.
retrench (v.2) Look up retrench at
"cut off, cut down, pare away" (expenses, etc.), 1620s, from obsolete French retrencher "to cut off, lessen, shorten" (Modern French retrancher, Old French retrenchier), from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French trenchier "to cut" (see trench). Related: Retrenched; retrenching.
retrenchment (n.) Look up retrenchment at
"action of lopping off or pruning," c. 1600, from obsolete French retrenchement "a cutting off or out," from retrencher (see retrench (v.2)). Military sense is recorded from 1580s; see retrench (v.1).
retrial (n.) Look up retrial at
1813, from re- + trial (n.).
retribute (v.) Look up retribute at
"give in return," 1570s, from Latin retributus, past participle of retribuere "give back, restore, repay" (see retribution). Related: Retributed; retributing.
retribution (n.) Look up retribution at
late 14c., "repayment," from Old French retribution and directly from Latin retributionem (nominative retributio) "recompense, repayment," noun of action from past participle stem of retribuere "hand back, repay," from re- "back" (see re-) + tribuere "to assign, allot" (see tribute). Originally "that which is given in return for past good or evil;" restricted modern use of "evil given for evil done" (1560s) is from day of retribution (1520s), in Christian theology the time of divine reward or punishment.
retributive (adj.) Look up retributive at
1670s, from retribute + -ive.
retrievable (adj.) Look up retrievable at
1711, from retrieve + -able.
retrieval (n.) Look up retrieval at
1640s, from retrieve + -al (2).
retrieve (v.) Look up retrieve at
early 15c., retreve, originally in reference to dogs finding lost game, from Middle French retruev-, stem of Old French retreuver (Modern French retrouver) "find again, recover, meet again, recognize," from re- "again" (see re-) + trouver "to find," probably from Vulgar Latin *tropare "to compose" (see trove). Altered 16c. to retrive; modern form is from mid-17c.
retriever (n.) Look up retriever at
"dog used for retrieving game," late 15c., agent noun from retrieve.
retro (adj.) Look up retro at
1974, from French rétro (1973), supposedly first used of a revival c. 1968 of Eva Peron-inspired fashions and short for rétrograde (see retrograde). There is an isolated use in English from 1768, and the word apparently was used in 19c. French as a term in billiards. As a noun, short for retro-rocket (1948) from 1961.
retro- Look up retro- at
word-forming element meaning "backwards; behind," from Latin retro (prep.) "backward, back, behind," also of time, "formerly, in past times," probably originally the ablative form of *reteros, based on re- "back" (see re-).
L. retro stands to re- as intro, "in, within"; to in, "in," and as citro, "hither," stands to cis, "on this side." [Klein]
Common in combinations in post-classical Latin (the classical equivalent was post-). Active in English as a word-forming element from mid-20c.
retroactive (adj.) Look up retroactive at
1610s, from French rétroactif (16c.) "casting or relating back," from Latin retroact-, past participle stem of retroagere "drive or turn back," from retro- "back" (see retro-) + agere "to drive, set in motion" (see act (n.)). Related: Retroactively.
retrocopulation (n.) Look up retrocopulation at
"copulation from behind," 1640s, from retro- + copulation. Related: Retrocopulate (v.).
retrofit (v.) Look up retrofit at
1954, from retro- + fit (v.). Related: Retrofitted; retrofitting. As a noun, 1956, from the verb.
retroflex (adj.) Look up retroflex at
1776, from Modern Latin retroflexus, past participle of retroflectere "to bend back," from retro (see retro-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible). The verb (1898) is a back-formation from retroflexed (1806), from the adjective.
retrograde (adj.) Look up retrograde at
late 14c., originally of the apparent motions of planets, from Latin retrogradus "going back, going backward," from retrogradi "move backward," from retro- "backward" (see retro-) + gradi "to go, step" (see grade (n.)). General sense of "tending to revert" is recorded from 1530s.
retrogress (v.) Look up retrogress at
"move backward; deteriorate," 1816, probably a back-formation from retrogression. Related: Retrogressed; retrogressing.
retrogression (n.) Look up retrogression at
1640s, noun of action, formed on model of progression, from Latin retrogressus, past participle of retrogradi "move backward" (see retrograde).
retrogressive (adj.) Look up retrogressive at
"tending to move backward," 1785, from Latin retrogress-, past participle stem of retrogradi "move backward, go backward" (see retrograde) + -ive. Related: Retrogressively.
retrospect (n.) Look up retrospect at
c. 1600, "a regard or reference" (to something), from Latin retrospectum, past participle of retrospicere "look back," from retro- "back" (see retro-) + specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "survey of past events" is from 1660s.
retrospection (n.) Look up retrospection at
1630s, noun of action from past participle stem of Latin retrospicere (see retrospect).
retrospective (adj.) Look up retrospective at
1660s, from retrospect + -ive. As a noun, from 1964, short for retrospective exhibition (1908), etc. Related: Retrospectively.
retrousse (adj.) Look up retrousse at
"turned up" (of the nose), 1802, from French retroussé (16c.) past participle adjective from retrousser "to turn up."
retroversion (n.) Look up retroversion at
1580s, "a tilting or turning backward," noun of action or state from Latin retroversus "turned or bent backwards," from retro (see retro-) + versus "turned" (see versus).
retrovirus (n.) Look up retrovirus at
1977, earlier retravirus (1974), from re(verse) tra(nscriptase) + virus. So called because it contains reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that uses RNA instead of DNA to encode genetic information, which reverses the usual pattern. Remodeled by influence of retro- "backwards."
retune (v.) Look up retune at
also re-tune, c. 1600 of musical instruments; 1974 of engines, from re- + tune (v.). Related: Retuned; retuning.
return (v.) Look up return at
early 14c., "to come back, come or go back to a former position" (intransitive), from Old French retorner "turn back, turn round, return" (Modern French retourner), from re- "back" (see re-) + torner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Transitive sense of "report officially" is early 15c.; "to send back" is mid-15c.; that of "to turn back" is from c. 1500. Meaning "to give in repayment" is 1590s; that of "give back, restore" c. 1600. Related: Returned; returning.
return (n.) Look up return at
late 14c., "act of coming back," also "official report of election results," from Anglo-French retorn, Old French retorne, verbal noun from retorner (see return (v.)). In ball games from 1833; specifically in tennis from 1886. Meaning "a yield, a profit" is recorded from 1620s. Meaning "a thing sent back" is from 1875. Many happy returns of the day was used by Addison (1716). Mailing return address attested from 1884.