re·​gres·​sive | \ ri-ˈgre-siv How to pronounce regressive (audio) \

Definition of regressive

1 : tending to regress or produce regression
2 : being, characterized by, or developing in the course of an evolutionary process involving increasing simplification of bodily structure
3 : decreasing in rate as the base increases a regressive tax

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Other Words from regressive

regressively adverb
regressiveness noun
regressivity \ ˌrē-​ˌgre-​ˈsi-​və-​tē How to pronounce regressive (audio) \ noun

Examples of regressive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The growing tensions in these countries – between, at a very stylised level, liberal pro European and generally younger generations versus those with a more regressive view of their country, will become more pronounced. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, "What’s Behind The Violence In Northern Ireland?," 11 Apr. 2021 Critics argue the regressive tax system create disparities in education, particularly for low income neighborhoods and students of color. Christen Smith, Washington Examiner, "Constitutional amendment proposes end to Pennsylvania property taxes," 19 Mar. 2021 The only major change since then was in 2019, when Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama lawmakers raised the state’s gas tax, which made this regressive tax structure even worse. al, "Whitmire: Alabama doesn’t have a gambling problem. It’s worse than that.," 3 Mar. 2021 Debt cancellation becomes increasingly regressive as the amount of relief is increased, helping those with the highest earning potentials. WSJ, "Canceling Student Debt: Is $10,000 Too Much or Not Enough?," 2 Mar. 2021 According to her, there is always a lag before the mainstream culture catches up with any formal progressive measure, and this lag is often regressive and reactionary. Eva Rothenberg, CNN, "For Black Georgians, voting restrictions are more of the same. These slave narratives prove it," 28 Mar. 2021 Boston’s provincialism is regressive, offensive, unwelcoming, and harms us as a city., "Backlash after Nick Collins’ St. Patrick’s Day breakfast joke about Michelle Wu," 20 Mar. 2021 And because those families are disproportionately non-White, regressive property taxes may also be contributing to the country’s staggering racial wealth gap. Christopher Ingraham, Anchorage Daily News, "Homes in poor neighborhoods are taxed at roughly twice the rate of those in rich areas, study shows," 13 Mar. 2021 Within front-of-house remuneration lies another issue: that of tipping, another traditionally accepted practice that has been shown time and time again to be regressive and problematic. Los Angeles Times, "Column: We should pay more to eat in restaurants," 19 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'regressive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of regressive

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for regressive

Time Traveler

The first known use of regressive was in 1634

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Statistics for regressive

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Regressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for regressive


re·​gres·​sive | \ ri-ˈgres-iv How to pronounce regressive (audio) \

Medical Definition of regressive

: relating to, resulting from, producing, or characterized by regression regressive behavior regressive tissue changes

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