Definition of retrench in English:



  • 1 (of an organization or individual) reduce costs or spending in response to economic difficulty.

    ‘as a result of the recession the company retrenched’
    [with object] ‘if people are forced to retrench their expenditure trade will suffer’
    • ‘Rising losses led to a restriction of new bank funding, forcing the company to drastically retrench (including selling its car lots) and restrict lending.’
    • ‘Small businesses are pulling back and retrenching - but they really can't understand what they should do.’
    • ‘When troubles start, they understandably retrench their consumption and begin to build savings in anticipation of dimmer times to come.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We see market conditions worsening as financial services firms retrench still further.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The gloomy outlook on bonuses comes as investment banks worldwide are retrenching in the face of dwindling business volumes.’
    • ‘At some point, one argument runs, households will have to retrench, slowing consumption and therefore economic growth.’
    • ‘As profits are squeezed, firms are forced to retrench.’
    • ‘If the United States were to experience a deflation in housing prices, consumers would be forced to retrench.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many homeowners, through mortgage refinancing and home equity loans, have largely withdrawn their home equity to support high rates of spending and can be expected to retrench.’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.’
    • ‘With companies retrenching and investment falling, the U.S. is relying on the high-spending habits of consumers to keep recession at bay.’
    • ‘Signs are finally beginning to emerge that the U.S. consumer - the engine of U.S. growth - is at last beginning to retrench.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, the chapters in this book, and the literature more generally, address not only organizational turnarounds but also organizational decline, crisis, retrenching, and downsizing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Consumers retrenched, cutting back on spending and saving huge sums to protect themselves.’
    • ‘By necessity, economies will have to retrench and become more local, more self-centered.’
    • ‘The consumer really will start retrenching, and the contagion will spread to the retail and service sectors with more job losses ensuing.’
    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. 1.1Australian, South African [with object]Make (an employee) redundant.
      ‘if there are excess staff they should be retrenched’
      • ‘As if council health inspectors have been retrenched, vendors are allowed to sell uncovered food stuffs, the real breeding grounds for many diseases, not only cholera.’
      • ‘‘Unfortunately we had to retrench some our workers,’ said Cranz.’
      • ‘About 300 employees were retrenched when the companies were placed in provisional liquidation.’
      • ‘It emerged this week that the miners who were retrenched earlier this year are yet to be paid their packages.’
      • ‘Many employees are retrenched or retired with little or no preparation about life after leaving employment.’
      • ‘It was the economic downturn, everyone was being retrenched and many people needed jobs.’
      • ‘Downsizing is never popular with workforces and as senior producers attempt to mothball or close marginal mines and retrench miners they run into conflict with labor groups made up of people who themselves are in the squeeze.’
      • ‘Sadly, when the manufacturing operations ceased, local workers had to be retrenched.’
      • ‘A slower economy in turn, would cause businesses to retrench labor, increasing unemployment and slowing consumer spending further.’
      • ‘If it is necessary to retrench employees, packages will be determined according to the law.’
      • ‘What will we do when the plastic bag extruding company closes down and all their employees are retrenched?’
      • ‘Katherine made sure she packed happy family photos to remind her of her family, way back when they were a family and her dad didn't get retrenched and is now struggling to find a new job.’
      • ‘He said in an interview from Chisamba that three top management staff had also been retrenched.’
      • ‘But if a person is retrenched in one garment factory, we will offer him or her to another garment factory.’
      • ‘Taking on a mortgage and a child when the remaining breadwinner is likely to be retrenched at any moment is a large risk.’
      • ‘For the whole of 1998, the number of workers retrenched was 83,865, a sharp increase from the 19,000 retrenched in 1997.’
      • ‘This allows you to borrow later - at a low interest rate - should you be retrenched.’
      • ‘If there were not enough volunteers for retrenchment packages, Telkom would go ahead with retrenching workers.’
      • ‘He said the economy was not creating jobs but was retrenching workers, shedding and ‘casualising’ jobs.’
      • ‘What is preoccupying the council officials at the moment is where to get a fat cheque to pay the bloated workforce the salary arrears and then clear the terminal benefits to the majority that have opted to be retrenched.’
    2. 1.2formal [with object]Reduce (something) in extent or quantity.
      ‘right-wing parties which seek to retrench the welfare state’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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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Late 16th century (in the now formal usage): from obsolete French retrencher, variant of retrancher, from re- (expressing reversal) + trancher to cut, slice.