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

The Cubs made a roster move on Sunday, adding right-hander James Norwood (1-2, 2.13 ERA in 29 games between Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa) to replace Anthony Bass, who went on the disabled list retroactive to July 5. Phil Rogers, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant to begin rehab stint Monday," 8 July 2018 If there's nothing else—if no other shoes drop—give this your retroactive blessing. Dan Savage, Chicago Reader, "‘Help, my wife has been a sexting with a guy for more than a decade!’," 13 June 2018 If Congress approves, the fix would be retroactive to Jan. 1. Washington Post, "Deal reached to fix unintended tax break for certain farmers," 14 Mar. 2018 That could make the city’s costs to create retroactive pensions relatively minimal if the Supreme Court follows the labor board recommendation and allows the city to count its contributions to the 401(k)-style plans. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 The first round of bills, retroactive to 2017, were sent to 75 companies and their subsidiaries in November. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "Federal Judge Strikes Down New York Tax on Opioid Industry," 19 Dec. 2018 The union agreed to support the accountability legislation in exchange for raises retroactive to January 2014 and a new contract. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "In breakthrough, Seattle’s police union and city reach tentative agreement on a new contract," 28 Aug. 2018 The change, not retroactive, takes effect this coming season. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The NCAA's Redshirt Rule Change Is a Major Win for Both Coaches and Players," 13 June 2018 Under the accord, these workers will receive a 3% raise retroactive to July 1, 2017. Howard Blume, latimes.com, "Deal with workers averts one-day strike that could have shut down L.A. schools," 9 May 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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Statistics for retroactive

Last Updated

7 Jun 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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