Also: Beat a hasty retreat
Meaning of Idiom ‘Beat a Retreat’
To beat a retreat means to quickly withdraw or reverse course; to quickly leave a place after entering it. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
“The woman, after seeing her ex-husband at the restaurant, quickly beat a retreat.”
“My girlfriend took me to meet her father. He was so mean and grumpy I beat a retreat before things got worse.”
This phrase from the 1300s was originally military in origin, referring to how the beating of drums was used as a signal for retreating from a battle. It is rarely used today, and then only figuratively. 1
The slang idiom beat it is based on this expression.
More Idioms Starting with B
More Beat Idioms
- Beat the Bushes
- Beat Around the Bush
- March to the Beat of a Different Drummer
- Beat (someone) To It
- Beat It
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