retroactive

play
adjective ret·ro·ac·tive \-ˈak-tiv\

Definition of retroactive

  1. :  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

retroactively

adverb

retroactivity

play \-ˌak-ˈti-və-tē\ noun

Examples of retroactive in a Sentence

  1. They all received a retroactive pay raise.

  2. The new tax will be retroactive to January 1.

Recent Examples of retroactive from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of retroactive

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


RETROACTIVE Defined for English Language Learners

retroactive

play
adjective

Definition of retroactive for English Language Learners

  • : effective from a particular date in the past


Medical Dictionary

retroactive

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

Medical Definition of retroactive

  1. :  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


Law Dictionary

retroactive

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

Legal Definition of retroactive

  1. :  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

retroactively

adverb

retroactivity

\-ak-ˈti-və-tē\ play noun


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