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From Middle English retenue, from Old French retenue, past participle of retenir (retain). Doublet of ritenuto.



retinue (plural retinues)

  1. A group of servants or attendants, especially of someone considered important.
    the queen’s retinues
    • 1915, Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, Fifty-One Tales:
      And not any longer as a king did Winter appear in those streets, as when the city was decked with gleaming white to greet him as a conqueror and he rode in with his glittering icicles and haughty retinue of prancing winds, but he sat there with a little wind at the corner of the street like some old blind beggar with his hungry dog.
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      Preceded by a Simpsons short shot in 3-D—perhaps the only thing more superfluous than a fourth Ice Age movie—Ice Age: Continental Drift finds a retinue of vaguely contemporaneous animals coping with life in the post-Pangaea age.
  2. A group of warriors or nobles accompanying a king or other leader; comitatus.
    • 1992, J. A. V. Haney and Eric Dahl, “On Igor’s Campaign” (translation of Слово о плъку Игоревѣ):
      Then Igor looked up at the bright sun and saw all his warriors
      darkened from it by a shadow.
      And Igor said to his retinue:
      “Brothers and companions! It is better to be slain than taken captive.
      Mount, brothers, your swift horses that we may glimpse the Blue Don.”
  3. (obsolete) A service relationship.

Related terms[edit]



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of retenue