Beat a hasty retreat


      • to quickly retreat or escape from a situation
        To describe a person or group quickly leaving a place or situation in order to avoid danger or conflict

      • to quickly give up or abandon something
        To describe someone giving up on a task or goal, usually due to difficulty or lack of success

      • to quickly backpedal or retract a statement or action
        To describe someone quickly changing their stance or opinion on something, especially when it is unpopular or controversial

    Examples of Beat a hasty retreat

    • The soldiers beat a hasty retreat after hearing the enemy approaching.

      In this example, the soldiers are rapidly leaving their current position due to the danger of enemy advancement.

    • The politician beat a hasty retreat from the confrontation after realizing that he was in the wrong.

      Here, the politician quickly leaves a situation after realizing their mistake or inability to defend themselves in a confrontation.

    • The guests beat a hasty retreat as soon as they saw the approaching storm.

      In this example, the guests leave quickly as a result of the approaching dangerous weather.

    • The cook beat a hasty retreat from the kitchen after being ordered to leave by the head chef.

      In this instance, the cook leaves quickly as a result of being ordered to leave by their superior.

    • The driver beat a hasty retreat from the collision after realizing that it was a head-on collision.

      Here, the driver leaves the scene of the accident quickly, especially in the case of a head-on collision, which creates severe danger to the driver's safety.


    The idiom "beat a hasty retreat" is commonly used to describe a situation where someone or a group quickly leaves a place or situation in order to avoid danger or conflict. It can also be used to describe giving up or abandoning a task or goal, or quickly backpedaling on a statement or action.

    Origin of "Beat a hasty retreat"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to military terminology. In the 1800s, the word "beat" was used to describe the rhythm of a drum, and "hasty retreat" referred to a quick and urgent withdrawal from the battlefield. This phrase was often used in military orders and reports, and eventually became a common expression outside of the military context.

    The concept of quickly retreating or withdrawing from a situation can also be seen in other cultures and languages. For example, in French, the phrase "battre en retraite" translates to "beat a retreat" and is used in a similar way to the English idiom.

    Over time, the idiom "beat a hasty retreat" has evolved to be used in various situations, not just in a military context. It is now commonly used in everyday language to describe a quick and urgent departure from a place or situation.