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>
retroactivityplay \-ˌak-ˈti-və-tē\ noun
Examples of retroactive in a sentence
They all received a retroactive pay raise.
The new tax will be retroactive to January 1.
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
First Known Use: 1611
RETROACTIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of retroactive for English Language Learners
: effective from a particular date in the past
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>
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
retroactivity\-ak-ˈti-və-tē\ play noun
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