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 Hated by the men and unprotected by the union, Josey and her peers are relentlessly groped and sadistically bullied — behavior that reflects a community riddled with regressive misogyny. New York Times, "9 Movies About Work to Watch This Labor Day," 29 Aug. 2019 Trump’s trade policies have been a smokescreen for a regressive domestic economic-policy agenda. Daniel W. Drezner, Twin Cities, "Daniel Drezner: The weak defenses of Elizabeth Warren’s trade plan," 15 Aug. 2019 But there’s another perspective, from which the Social Security 2100 Act would be a regressive change that would make Social Security’s funding less progressive. Andrew G. Biggs, National Review, "How the Democrats’ Social Security Plan Could Finance a Tax Cut," 15 Aug. 2019 View Sample Sign Up Now The tax cut Trump signed in December 2017–while horribly structured, regressive and fiscally irresponsible–did put more money into some people’s pockets and did enhance incentives to invest. Alan Blinder, Time, "The Economy Under Trump Is Very Good. But Don’t Get Too Comfortable," 22 Aug. 2019 And, as the current debate maintains, the right place to start raising revenues is at the very top of the scale, where the vast share of growth has accrued in recent decades, a trend that’s been exacerbated by Trump’s wasteful, regressive tax cuts. Jared Bernstein, Vox, "We can’t fund the progressive agenda by taxing the 1% alone," 2 Aug. 2019 Carl Davis, research director with the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said cutting the dividend is regressive, hitting lower-income families particularly hard. Washington Post, "Alaska budget woes prod debate over oil-wealth fund checks," 9 Aug. 2019 Carl Davis, research director with the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said cutting the dividend is regressive, hitting lower-income families particularly hard. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s oil money headaches: ‘We did this to ourselves’," 9 Aug. 2019 Another objection with at least a superficial logic is that a program to cancel student debt will necessarily be regressive, benefiting the wealthy more than the working class. Michael Hiltzik,, "Eliminating student debt would be a terrific economic stimulus program," 24 June 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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Statistics for regressive

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for regressive

The first known use of regressive was in 1634

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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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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

Comments on regressive

What made you want to look up regressive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speed up the process or progress of

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