ret·​ro | \ ˈre-(ˌ)trō How to pronounce retro (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Think about Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square for stadium-style seating, Harkins Shea for an old-school multiplex or Harkins Valley Art for retro-style charm. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Summer in Arizona: Locals share 100 fun ways to survive the 100-degree heat in Phoenix," 1 July 2019 The sequin detail across the body added one final flare of glamor, while a classic smokey eye and peachy nude lip with a bold brow gave the perfect modern edge to her retro look. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Emily Ratajkowski Debuted a Stunning Long Bob Haircut at the Tony Awards," 10 June 2019 Speaking of a rouged lip, Emily Ratajkowski accented hers with a retro makeup look with a swipe of magenta gloss on the lids, and layered chestnut bangs. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Selena Gomez, Emily Ratajkowski, and More," 19 May 2019 This is a woman who shaved her whole head for her role in Mad Max: Fury Road, after all, and has rocked every length of hair since, from short pixies to lobs to loose retro waves fit for a 1940s Hollywood starlet. Rachel Lubitz,, "Charlize Theron Just Brought Back Her Iconic Pixie — & It Looks Amazing," 30 June 2019 Since retro polka dots have been revived, take this lively, black-and-white blouse out on the town. Niki Mcgloster, Essence, "We Found Your Next Head-Turning All White Party Ensemble," 28 June 2019 David Lynch introduced more modern technology to the retro world of Twin Peaks, then just kept on going, tilting into the realm of science fiction with his super-advanced crime-labs and stealth communication devices. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The pros and cons of endless TV revivals," 27 June 2019 LaCroix, with its retro label and unique flavors, became an unlikely leader in the seltzer market. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "LaCroix slashed prices to stop its sales slump. Now it faces a new problem," 27 June 2019 The past few years have seen the return of bell bottoms and round sunglasses—so why not throw a retro decor fixture back in the mix? Tainaya Nash, House Beautiful, "Suncatchers Are Making a Comeback," 27 June 2019

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.

See More

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-

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about retro

Dictionary Entries near retro








Statistics for retro

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retro

The first known use of retro was in 1972

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!