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

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 This also feeds into Murray’s proposal to devolve the entirety of the government’s social supports into a more regressive version of a universal basic income. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science," 27 Mar. 2018 If any of these state workarounds are successful, the overall impact will be to make an indefensibly unfair tax cut even more regressive. Steve Wamhoff, Fortune, "Commentary: States Are Trying to Fix the New Tax Bill. But They Might End Up Making It Worse.," 18 Jan. 2018 Although there were monthly signs the ill-advised, regressive, punish-the-poor beverage tax was laying an egg, city officials smiled like Cheshire cats and said the numbers would improve. Stu Bykofsky,, "Kenney in Wonderland defines failure as success | Stu Bykofsky," 5 Mar. 2018 There’s a general frustration that, in the 21st century, this big and powerful country cannot pull away from its most regressive roots — and its hardest prejudices and its destructive tribalism — to solve our toughest problems. Dan Rodricks,, "Where have you gone, Mister Rogers?," 13 July 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

27 Sep 2018

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The first known use of regressive was in 1634

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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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