Definition of retroactive
- retroactive tax
They all received a retroactive pay raise.
The new tax will be retroactive to January 1.
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.
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.
: effective from a particular date in the past
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