re·​gres·​sive | \ri-ˈgre-siv \

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 \ noun

Examples of regressive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Yet, the Trump administration has finalized a regressive set of health insurance policy changes that could roll back access to the very thing that has helped us get here: birth control. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Birth Control Helped Us Reach Historically Low Abortion Rates, But the Trump Administration Could Change That," 30 Nov. 2018 Ollivier demonstrates strength and resilience, though ultimately, her character is more of a prop to create tension for others in some extraordinarily tired and regressive ways, rather than someone with her own agency and destiny. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Overlord is a gloriously entertaining piece of B-movie schlock," 9 Nov. 2018 Last night at the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Awards, the 22-year-old stoked the flames of regressive beauty stereotypes on the red carpet in more ways than one. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Lourdes Leon Is Shattering Beauty Stereotypes With Body Hair—Just Like Her Famous Mother," 6 Nov. 2018 The California Public Utilities Commission is set to revisit this regressive policy in 2019—before the solar mandate takes effect. Steven Sexton, WSJ, "The Phony Numbers Behind California’s Solar Mandate," 12 Aug. 2018 In fact, car-insurance premiums in the state are so hugely regressive that those living in the poorest zip codes, where the typical family lives below the federal poverty line, can expect to pay twice as much to insure their cars. The Economist, "Why Detroit is the most expensive city in America to buy car insurance," 5 July 2018 Understandably, Democratic partisans often blame their powerlessness on such voters – and the regressive racial views that led them out of Team Blue’s tent. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Paid a Huge Price For Letting Unions Die," 26 Jan. 2018 Opponents criticize the measure as a regressive tax on Washingtonians. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Fight heats up over Washington state carbon ‘fee’ likely to make fall ballot," 2 July 2018 Ted Egan, San Francisco’s chief economist, said a per-employee tax is seen as more regressive than a payroll tax. Wendy Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, "The $5 million Google tax that could fix every Silicon Valley problem," 5 May 2018

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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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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The first known use of regressive was in 1634

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More Definitions for regressive


re·​gres·​sive | \ri-ˈgres-iv \

Medical Definition of regressive 

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on regressive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with regressive

Spanish Central: Translation of regressive

Nglish: Translation of regressive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of regressive for Arabic Speakers

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a nest or breeding place

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