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adjective ret·ro·grade \ˈre-trə-ˌgrād\

Simple Definition of retrograde

  • : returning to an earlier and usually worse state or condition

  • : moving backward

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of retrograde

  1. 1 a (1) :  having or being motion in a direction contrary to that of the general motion of similar bodies and especially east to west among the stars <Saturn is retrograde for another week> (2) :  having or being a direction of rotation or revolution that is clockwise as viewed from the north pole of the sky or a planet <a retrograde orbit> b (1) :  moving, occurring, or performed in a backward direction (2) :  occurring or performed in a direction opposite to the normal or forward direction of conduction or flow — compare anterograde 1 c :  contrary to the normal order :  inverse

  2. 2 :  tending toward or resulting in a worse or previous state

  3. 3 archaic :  contradictory, opposed

  4. 4 :  characterized by retrogression

  5. 5 :  affecting memories of a period prior to a shock or seizure <retrograde amnesia>

  6. 6 :  retro <retrograde fashion>



Examples of retrograde in a sentence

  1. a retrograde policy that would leave more people poorer than they are now

  2. <retrograde pedaling will engage the brakes on that bike>

Origin and Etymology of retrograde

Middle English, from Latin retrogradus, from retrogradi

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Astronomy Terms



adverb ret·ro·grade

Definition of retrograde

Circa 1619

First Known Use of retrograde

circa 1619



verb ret·ro·grade

Definition of retrograde


  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to turn back :  reverse

  3. intransitive verb
  4. 1 a :  to go back :  retreat b :  to go back over or recapitulate something

  5. 2 :  to decline to a worse condition

Examples of retrograde in a sentence

  1. <the Dark Ages, the period following the fall of the Roman Empire when Western civilization seriously retrograded>

Origin and Etymology of retrograde

Latin retrogradi, from retro- + gradi to go — more at grade

First Known Use: 1582

Rhymes with retrograde

accolade, Adelaide, ambuscade, aquacade, balustrade, barricade, cable-laid, cannonade, carronade, cavalcade, centigrade, chambermaid, chiffonade, colonnade, countertrade, custom-made, dairymaid, defilade, enfilade, escalade, escapade, esplanade, everglade, foreign aid, fusillade, gallopade, gasconade, grant-in-aid, hawser-laid, hearing aid, intergrade, legal aid, lemonade, marinade, marmalade, masquerade, meter maid, motorcade, orangeade, orthograde, overtrade, palisade, panty raid, pasquinade, plantigrade, promenade, ready-made, renegade, serenade, stock-in-trade, tailor-made, underlaid, visual aid

Medical Dictionary


adjective ret·ro·grade \ˈre-trə-ˌgrād\

Medical Definition of retrograde

  1. 1:  characterized by retrogression

  2. 2:  affecting memories of a period prior to a precipitating event (as brain injury or disease) <In retrograde amnesia, the victim can remember only what has happened since he lost his memory; everything before that is irretrievable.—Jean Seligmann, Newsweek, 29 Sept. 1986>—compare anterograde 1

  3. 3:  occurring or performed in a direction opposite to the normal or forward direction of conduction or flow: asa:  occurring along nerve cell processes toward the cell body <retrograde axonal transport> <retrograde degeneration of nerve fibers>b:  occurring opposite to the normal direction or path of blood circulation <apply bandaging to the lower extremities to produce pressure to reduce retrograde blood flow in veins with incompetent valves>—compare anterograde 2


adverb <The ablation catheter was then inserted through the right femoral arterial sheath and advanced retrogradely into the left ventricle.—Warren M. Jackman, The New England Journal of Medicine, 6 June 1991>

Seen and Heard

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a block used as a base for a statue

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