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

Those checks will contain an especially large lump sum, retroactive to their March retirements. Matt Rocheleau, BostonGlobe.com, "As State Police overtime probe intensifies, troopers race to lock in pensions and retire," 2 July 2018 Morrow, who has converted 16 of 17 save chances, was placed on the DL retroactive to June 17. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs closer Brandon Morrow goes on DL with back tightness," 20 June 2018 The Brewers announced Braun was placed on the 10-day DL with middle back tightness, retroactive to Monday. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers place Ryan Braun on disabled list with back issue; corresponding move to come," 17 May 2018 Under the new contracts, both firefighters and service department workers will get 2.5 percent raises in each of three years, retroactive to July 1, 2017. Jeff Piorkowski/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "University Heights council approves firefighters contract; new city office space planned for June," 8 May 2018 According to federal records first reported by the Post, Smotkin was contracted to lobby for the Moroccan government in April, in an agreement retroactive to January 1 of this year that pays $40,000 a month for 12 months, or $480,000 in total. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Lobbyist helped arrange Scott Pruitt Morocco trip, now earns $40,000 from Moroccan government: Report," 1 May 2018 The complaint seeks an order requiring MetLife to locate all affected Massachusetts retirees and to make retroactive payments to them — with interest — as well as to continue dispersing regular payments to each retiree. Katheleen Conti, BostonGlobe.com, "MetLife charged with fraud for failing to pay pensions of ‘dead’ retirees," 25 June 2018 Her participation in the program came with a roughly $10,000 retroactive payment, according to a 2007 investigative report by the office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Facebook, Instagram ads target Gavin Newsom over past relationships with women | The Sacramento Bee," 14 May 2018 The memo signed Monday by Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense, approves retroactive payments going back to last June 7, which is when the additional money was requested by Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of U.S. Africa Command. Washington Post, "Troops in Niger and other African nations to get danger pay," 8 Mar. 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

8 Nov 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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