retroactive

adjective
ret·ro·ac·tive | \ ˌre-trō-ˈak-tiv \

Definition of retroactive 

: extending in scope or effect to a prior time or to conditions that existed or originated in the past especially : made effective as of a date prior to enactment, promulgation, or imposition retroactive tax

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Other words from retroactive

retroactively adverb
retroactivity \ˌre-trō-ˌak-ˈti-və-tē \ noun

Did You Know?

We normally think of time as constantly moving forward. Since retroactive seems to defy time's forward movement, retroactive taxes, laws, and regulations are often seen as particularly obnoxious and unfair. But nobody ever objects to receiving a retroactive raise at work. When we judge historical people and events in terms of present-day morality and attitudes, our retroactive judgments may indicate that we're too impressed with ourselves and ignorant of history.

Examples of retroactive in a Sentence

They all received a retroactive pay raise. The new tax will be retroactive to January 1.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Burbank teachers union is countering with a 5% salary increase, retroactive to July 2017. Andrew J. Campa, latimes.com, "Local unions react to Janus ruling with uncertainty, hope," 11 July 2018 None of those decisions would be subject to a public vote under the terms of the ballot initiative because the measure would not be retroactive. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Backcountry development initiative faces signature deadline," 20 May 2018 The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, says a tax reform bill should be retroactive with a corporate tax rate in the teens. Bloomberg.com, "Meadows Pushes Retroactive Corporate Tax Rate ‘in the Teens’," 3 Aug. 2017 Exclusions are retroactive to the date Commerce posts them online, so companies eventually expect to have their tariff payments refunded. David J. Lynch, chicagotribune.com, "Flood of U.S. companies seek relief on tariffs," 20 June 2018 The contract is retroactive to July 2017 and will continue through June 2020. Laura Mccrystal, Philly.com, "Philly signs 3-year contract with firefighters," 17 May 2018 The three-year agreement is retroactive to the beginning of the year and expires Dec. 31, 2020. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "New contract gives West Chester firefighters a pay hike," 11 Jan. 2018 Under the agreement, members will receive a 3 percent pay raise retroactive to July 1, 2017; an increase of 2.5 percent starting July 1, 2018; and 3 percent again on July 1, 2019. Robert Moran, Philly.com, "Philly white-collar union members ratify contract," 20 June 2018 If the deal is ratified after this month, the agreed upon pay increases would take effect retroactive to Aug. 1. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Weekend deliveries, new technology addressed in UPS-Teamsters deal," 11 July 2018

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

1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retroactive

French rétroactif, from Latin retroactus, past participle of retroagere to drive back, reverse, from retro- + agere to drive — more at agent

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for retroactive

The first known use of retroactive was in 1611

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More Definitions for retroactive

retroactive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of retroactive

: effective from a particular date in the past

retroactive

adjective
ret·ro·ac·tive | \ ˌre-trō-ˈak-tiv \

Medical Definition of retroactive 

: having relation or reference to or efficacy in a prior time specifically : relating to, caused by, or being obliteration of the results of learning by immediately subsequent activity retroactive inhibition

retroactive

adjective
ret·ro·ac·tive | \ ˌre-trō-ˈak-tiv \

Legal Definition of retroactive 

: extending in scope or effect to a prior time or to conditions that existed or originated in the past especially : made effective as of a date prior to enactment, promulgation, or imposition a retroactive tax — see also ex post facto law

Other words from retroactive

retroactively adverb
retroactivity \-ak-ˈti-və-tē \ noun

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Comments on retroactive

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