verb (used with object)
- to cut down, reduce, or diminish; curtail (expenses).
- to cut off or remove.
- Military. to protect by a retrenchment.
verb (used without object)
- to economize; reduce expenses: They retrenched by eliminating half of the workers.
- to reduce or curtail (costs); economize
- (tr) to shorten, delete, or abridge
- (tr) to protect by a retrenchment
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.
“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.