retroactive

adjective
ret·​ro·​ac·​tive | \ ˌre-trō-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce retroactive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce retroactivity (audio) \ 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

Costello said the new law would be retroactive, so people who struggled to get applications for the old credit approved because of a ransomware attack that struck city computer systems in May would be eligible to receive the benefit. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore City Council committee approves fix for housing tax credit that lapsed," 25 July 2019 Correction posted February 6, 2009 The original version implied that the cuts were retroactive. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 Instead, he was put on the DL retroactive to Thursday. BostonGlobe.com, "Dodgers put Clayton Kershaw on DL with biceps tendinitis," 6 May 2018 Bevin's bill would be retroactive to July 1 and delay the higher rates for a year. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin's pension-relief bill passes in the Kentucky House in a close vote," 22 July 2019 Particularly significant was its 2014 decision to reduce all drug guidelines by two levels and to make the policy retroactive, thereby reducing sentences for some 32,000 prisoners. Lynn S. Adelman, Twin Cities, "Lynn S. Adelman: There’s another tough-on-crime law Democrats should focus their criticism on," 12 July 2019 The French tax is retroactive to Jan. 1, and the first payment from affected businesses is due in October, Bunn pointed out. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "France and the U.S.: Heading for trade war over a tech tax?," 11 July 2019 Commissioner Rob Manfred said the suspension is retroactive to June 24 and will cover 85 games and any postseason games the Phillies play. Steve Almasy, CNN, "Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera suspended for rest of season," 5 July 2019 The bill would be retroactive to 2007, forcing Verizon to pay a decade's worth of back taxes to many towns. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Verizon avoided a decade’s worth of taxes—a new law could make it pay up," 4 June 2019

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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Statistics for retroactive

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

formal : effective from a particular date in the past

retroactive

adjective
ret·​ro·​ac·​tive | \ ˌre-trō-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce retroactive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce retroactive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce retroactivity (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on retroactive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retroactive

Spanish Central: Translation of retroactive

Nglish: Translation of retroactive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retroactive for Arabic Speakers

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