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 regressivity (audio) \ noun

Examples of regressive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Democratic appetite for taxes this year makes President Obama’s 2008 plans look almost regressive. WSJ, "Democratic Hopefuls and the Taxes to Come," 9 Feb. 2020 The most convincing counter-argument is that the state that authorizes expanded gambling to generate more revenue imposes a regressive tax and addictive risk on its citizens. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky is in doubt ... if not 'in trouble'," 31 Jan. 2020 Households in the bottom income brackets spend the highest portion of their income on energy, making a carbon tax among the most regressive of taxes. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "The Warren Fracking Ban Would Devastate America," 27 Jan. 2020 But Gervais instead devolved into something more incoherent and regressive. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Ricky Gervais Almost Got It Right on Hollywood Hypocrisy," 6 Jan. 2020 During a Wednesday work session, Dyson’s proposal was criticized by other Assembly members for being regressive and focusing on fighting crime rather than preventing it. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Assembly members pitch residents on new taxes," 10 Jan. 2020 The employer tax exclusion is also highly regressive, because those in higher tax brackets receive a larger benefit from the rule than those in lower ones. Avik Roy, Twin Cities, "Avik Roy: Trump could revolutionize the private health insurance market," 20 June 2019 The fines and fees ordinance passed today touches thousands of Chicago families, moving us away from funding our city through an old regressive system. Juan Perez Jr.,, "Mayor Lori Lightfoot sees stronger Chicago with passage of fine, fee reforms and plan to publicize high-profile watchdog reports as aldermen challenge her on agenda," 16 Sep. 2019 Identity politics often yields regressive policy, as Washington state legislators demonstrated last week by voting to restore racial and gender preferences in state government. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Racial Spoils in Washington State," 5 May 2019

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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Regressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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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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