ret·​ro | \ˈre-(ˌ)trō \

Definition of retro 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned a retro look



Definition of retro- (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : backward : back retro-rocket

2 : situated behind retroperitoneal

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Other Words from retro


retro noun

Examples of retro in a Sentence


the retro look in fashion retro fashions that seek to capture the lost glamour of Hollywood in the 1930s

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Deciding to dress up as Kendall Jenner's style icon, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton proved that sometimes retro is best. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nicky Hilton's Halloween Costume Is Paris Hilton's 21st Birthday Party Look," 27 Oct. 2018 Try out this retro bat costume, complete with webbed wings. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "4 Great Halloween Costumes From the PM Archives," 11 Oct. 2018 Designed to provide modern comforts with retro style, the interior features a compact kitchen and cooking area with a sink, fridge, propane stove, and lots of convenient under-cabinet storage. Megan Barber, Curbed, "This Westfalia camper van is giving us 1950s-diner vibes," 1 Oct. 2018 But surprisingly, a seemingly retro ad format — outdoor advertising — is also having its heyday. Rani Molla, Recode, "Billboards — yes, billboards — are having a heyday in a digital world," 25 Sep. 2018 And that leaves another 49 games in this strange, retro-minded package to get excited about, too! Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 Kiss-lock hardware adds retro flair, a wraparound magnetic flap adds security, and the adjustable strap means it can be worn as a crossbody or shoulder bag. Bree Coven Foster, The Seattle Times, "Retro-chic bag is gentle on the earth," 18 July 2018 The dramatic success of NES Classic will surely accelerate the wave of retro consoles. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "The NES Classic Outsold the Xbox One, PS4, and Switch," 2 Aug. 2018 Sarri smokes, wears retro spectacles, and hunches over to jot down notes on a small pad during matches. Steve Douglas,, "Chelsea replace Conte with former Napoli boss Sarri," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retro.' 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 retro


1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retro


French rétro, short for rétrospectif retrospective


Latin, from retro, from re- + -tro (as in intro within) — more at intro-

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Statistics for retro

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retro

The first known use of retro was in 1972

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More Definitions for retro



English Language Learners Definition of retro

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: looking like or relating to styles or fashions from the past



English Language Learners Definition of retro- (Entry 2 of 2)

: backward : back

More from Merriam-Webster on retro

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retro

Britannica English: Translation of retro for Arabic Speakers

Comments on retro

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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