English edit

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

Probably partly from both of the following:[1]

Noun edit

retrenchment (countable and uncountable, plural retrenchments)

  1. A curtailment or reduction.
    Synonyms: cutting down, diminution, lessening
    • 1960 February, R. C. Riley, “The London–Birmingham services – Past, Present and Future”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 98:
      Last year it was announced that electrification of L.M.R. main lines was to be speeded up and that it would be essential for the engineers to have the longest possible occupation of the lines involved; this would mean some retrenchment of passenger train services.
    • 2018 October 28, “The Observer view on the budget and the decade of austerity”, in The Observer[1], London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 19 October 2019:
      And the retrenchment of services such as mental health and drug rehabilitation means that vulnerable people are more likely to find themselves on the street.
    1. (specifically) An act of reducing expenses; economizing.
      Synonym: cutback
      • 1838 (date written), L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXII, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], published 1842, →OCLC, page 289:
        Must my anxious management, my prudent retrenchments, dear Margaretta's savings, all go!
      • 1864 July, T[imothy] S[hay] Arthur, “My Father”, in Arthur’s Home Magazine, volume XXIV, Philadelphia, Pa.: T. S. Arthur & Sons, →OCLC, pages 23–24:
        From this time, the hand which had ever been ready to supply all our wants real or imaginary, opened less promptly at our demands. My father talked occasionally of retrenchment and economy when some of our extravagant bills came in; but we paid little heed to his remarks on this head. Where could we retrench? In what could we economize? The very idea was absurd.
    2. (specifically) An act of terminating the employment of a worker or making an employee redundant, often to reduce expenses; a layoff.
  2. (by extension) Withdrawal.
    • 1973, Thomas L. Hughes, “Democracy, Diversity, and the Flight from Foreign Policy”, in Foreign Policy, number 10, →JSTOR, pages 144–5:
      Even then—10 long years ago—our disillusionment over past failures, our revulsion against moralistic posturing, our retrenchment from prescribing what was best for other people, our withdrawal symptoms from the exhilarations of overcommitment—all these argued for the perspective of diversity; for lowering our goals.
    • 1999, Abner Shimony, “Can the fundamental laws of nature be the results of evolution?”, in Jeremy Butterfield, Constantine Pagonis, editors, From Physics to Philosophy, →ISBN, page 214:
      If it is allowed, however, that the theatre of cosmic evolution is endowed with some fixed structure, even a very weak one, then there is a retrenchment from the programme of an evolutionary account of every general law.
    • 2023, Kevin Carnahan, “Christian Realism and International Relations”, in Dallas Gingles et al., editors, The Future of Christian Realism: International Conflict, Political Decay, and the Crisis of Democracy, →ISBN, page 115:
      Given the current retrenchment of liberal internationalism, it is easy to forget that only three decades ago many believed that liberalism had attained a historically definitive victory over all alternatives.
Usage notes edit

Sense 1.2 (“act of terminating the employment of a worker”) is common in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa, but uncommon in Britain and the United States.[1]

Translations edit

Etymology 2 edit

Probably either from:[2]

Noun edit

retrenchment (plural retrenchments)

  1. (military, dated) A defensive work constructed within a fortification to make it more defensible by allowing defenders to retreat into and fight from it even after the enemy has taken the outer work.
    • 1712, H[enry] Curzon, “Of Fortification”, in The Universal Library: Or, Compleat Summary of Science. [] , volume II, London: [] George Sawbridge, [], →OCLC, page 243:
      The Half-Moon is a Work always raiſed before the Baſtion's Point, being ſo named from the Lowneſs of its Gorges Cavity, &c. and is to ſecure the Two Faces of the Baſtion; but when the Faces have but a weak Defence from the Ravelin, theſe Works are ſoon made uſeleſs or ruined, and give the Beſieged an opportunity of Lodgment, and may ſerve for Batteries and Flanks againſt the oppoſing Baſtions; however they may be retrenched by Traverſes, yet they will not fail to attack entirely in the Face, or where you have your laſt Retrenchment, alſo that called the Counterguard runs the like Hazard.
    • 1747, John Muller [i.e., John Müller], “Part II. Of the Defence.”, in The Attack and Defence of Fortify’d Places. [], London: [] J. Millan, [], →OCLC, page 186:
      [I]f there is one Retrenchment in a Work, it is generally thought ſufficient; but it happens much oftener than there is none at all; ſo that one might be apt to think, a Defence like that we have been explaining is only chimerical, if the Sieges of Vienna and Candy, both by the Turks, were not inſtances of the contrary, where there was hardly an inch of Ground either within or without thoſe two Towns, as far as the Extremities of the Glacis, and even beyond them, but what was retrenched and countermined.
    • 1778, [Robert Orme], “Book VIII. [The War of Coromandel.]”, in A History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan, from the Year MDCCXLV. [], volume II, 1st section, London: [] John Nourse, [], →OCLC:
      The gate-way of the north ſide, from whence the garriſon got their water, was near the n. w. angle, and about 80 yards from the river; on the ſide of which, oppoſite to the gate, they threw up a retrenchment, in which they kept a guard to protect the water-carriers.
Translations edit

Etymology 3 edit

Internal formation from retrench (take up a defensive position) +‎ -ment, possibly reinforced by misinterpretation of Etymology 1.

Noun edit

retrenchment (countable and uncountable, plural retrenchments)

  1. (especially politics) The adoption of a defensive and hostile posture; refusal to compromise, radicalization.
    • 2011, Michael Berenbaum, J. Shawn Landres, “The Passion of Christ Controversy”, in Eric Michael Mazur, editor, Encyclopedia of Religion and Film, →ISBN, page 352:
      Retrenchment—on the left and the right—led to exclusivist, mutually recriminating positions on the film that made reasoned debate almost impossible, as opponents drowned each other out with competing narratives of “victimization” and “pariah” status.
    • 2016, David Shambaugh, “Politics: Editorial Introduction”, in David Shambaugh, editor, The China Reader: Rising Power, 6th edition, →ISBN, page 36:
      But at the Seventeenth CCP Congress in 2008 Zeng Qinghong retired, and beginning the very next year the CCP began a deep political retrenchment, halting most of the political reforms, and reverted to old-style harsh and repressive rule.
    • 2017 February 23, Adam Cathcart, “How different would North Korea have been under Kim Jong-nam?”, in The Guardian:
      While Kim Jong-un has experimented with such reforms, the character of the young leader’s reign has been one of traditionalist retrenchment and the cult of personality.
    • 2021, Michael Molavi, Collective Access to Justice: Assessing the Potential of Class Actions in England and Wales, →ISBN, page 55:
      What was once a conservative retrenchment against civil litigation in the United States has now been globalized in no small part due to the proliferation of class actions as legal transplants.

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 retrenchment, n.2”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2010; “retrenchment, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ retrenchment, n.1”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2010.

Further reading edit