Definition of retrench in English:


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intransitive verb

[no object]
  • 1(of a company, government, or individual) reduce costs or spending in response to economic difficulty.

    ‘as a result of the recession the company retrenched’
    • ‘if people are forced to retrench their expenditure trade will suffer’
    • ‘When troubles start, they understandably retrench their consumption and begin to build savings in anticipation of dimmer times to come.’
    • ‘As profits are squeezed, firms are forced to retrench.’
    • ‘Many homeowners, through mortgage refinancing and home equity loans, have largely withdrawn their home equity to support high rates of spending and can be expected to retrench.’
    • ‘Companies invest when interest rates are low and capital is easy to raise, and then retrench savagely as rates rise.’
    • ‘We see market conditions worsening as financial services firms retrench still further.’
    • ‘More companies are likely to retrench or quietly exit from venture programs if the recent stock market downturn persists, simply because too much money has been chasing too few good deals.’
    • ‘The gloomy outlook on bonuses comes as investment banks worldwide are retrenching in the face of dwindling business volumes.’
    • ‘If the United States were to experience a deflation in housing prices, consumers would be forced to retrench.’
    • ‘Signs are finally beginning to emerge that the U.S. consumer - the engine of U.S. growth - is at last beginning to retrench.’
    • ‘Similar considerations apply to households, many of which have seen substantial losses in their stock market wealth and are presumably retrenching in response to widespread job losses and reductions in hours of work.’
    • ‘Consumers retrenched, cutting back on spending and saving huge sums to protect themselves.’
    • ‘Rising losses led to a restriction of new bank funding, forcing the company to drastically retrench (including selling its car lots) and restrict lending.’
    • ‘First, declining sales growth indicated economic trouble and a need to retrench and reduce costs in a business environment in which managers pay close attention to sales growth.’
    • ‘When the American consumer retrenches, as now seems inevitable (but don't ask me when), the result is going to be a nasty economic shock in countries where consumer demand is too lacklustre to pick up some of the slack.’
    • ‘The consumer really will start retrenching, and the contagion will spread to the retail and service sectors with more job losses ensuing.’
    • ‘With companies retrenching and investment falling, the U.S. is relying on the high-spending habits of consumers to keep recession at bay.’
    • ‘At some point, one argument runs, households will have to retrench, slowing consumption and therefore economic growth.’
    • ‘By necessity, economies will have to retrench and become more local, more self-centered.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, the chapters in this book, and the literature more generally, address not only organizational turnarounds but also organizational decline, crisis, retrenching, and downsizing.’
    • ‘Small businesses are pulling back and retrenching - but they really can't understand what they should do.’
    economize, cut back, make cutbacks, make savings, make economies, reduce expenditure, be economical, be sparing, be frugal, budget, tighten one's belt, husband one's resources, draw in one's horns, save, scrimp and save, cut corners
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    1. 1.1 formal with object Reduce or diminish (something) in extent or quantity.
      ‘withering household incomes have caused families to retrench their spending’
      • ‘Speculation that the company was retrenching part of its activities in Essex, especially at Dunton, has been dismissed as ‘totally incorrect and totally without any foundation’ by a spokesman at Warley.’
      • ‘At the same time, the Inuit Art Foundation closed its art boutique in downtown Ottawa and retrenched its activities and sales in suburban Nepean.’
      • ‘There are various reasons, then, why many citizens have supported right-wing parties which seek to retrench the welfare state.’
      • ‘The authorities began to retrench the extent of freedom extended to the press.’
      reduce, cut, cut back, cut down, cut back on, pare, pare down, slim down, bring down, make reductions in, make cutbacks in, trim, prune, whittle away, whittle down, salami-slice, take off, decrease, lower, lessen, shorten, curtail, truncate, shrink, diminish, minimize
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/rəˈtren(t)SH/ /rəˈtrɛn(t)ʃ/


Late 16th century (in the now formal usage): from obsolete French retrencher, variant of retrancher, from re- (expressing reversal) + trancher ‘to cut, slice’.