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

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 Many objections are ideological; people oppose them because, say, taxing junk food is the nanny state in action, or food taxes are regressive. Tamar Haspel, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 Broad debt cancellation would be an expensive, regressive giveaway to affluent households that worsens inflation and detracts from more meaningful efforts to address the college affordability crisis. Ben Ritz, Forbes, 2 May 2022 But on medical malpractice payouts, no state has been more regressive for nearly half a century. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2022 The decision to market these athletes as exclusively hyperfeminine – whether made by the magazine or the league – isn’t just regressive. Frankie De La Cretaz, CNN, 19 May 2022 The vitriol being levelled at Heard feels regressive because, whatever the truth, this was clearly a very damaging and traumatic relationship., 16 May 2022 Our infatuation with the trial also highlights a certain British cultural fascination with women who are rich (materially wealthy) but don’t act rich (according to the regressive standards of the British class system, anyway). Raven Smith, Vogue, 12 May 2022 Protests from parents and a growing number of Democrats are a warning to the Administration that its sneaky push to limit school choice is regressive and unpopular. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 May 2022 For a returning teacher, this was a mystery: how had China experienced so much social, economic, and educational change while the politics remained stagnant, or even regressive? Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of regressive

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of regressive was in 1634

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Dictionary Entries Near regressive

regression line


regressive sorites

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Regressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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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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