ret·​ro·​cede ˌre-trō-ˈsēd How to pronounce retrocede (audio)
retroceded; retroceding

intransitive verb

: to go back : recede

transitive verb

[French rétrocéder, from Medieval Latin retrocedere, from Latin retro- + cedere to cede] : to cede back
retrocede a territory
retrocession noun

Did you know?

Retrocede is a 17th-century adaptation of Latin retrocēdere, which was formed by combining the prefix retro-, meaning "back" or "backward," with the verb cēdere, "to go or move away." Retrocede has a bit of a twist, however, because cēdere can also mean "cede" ("to yield or assign") and English cede traces back through French and Latin to this other meaning of cēdere. Other descendants of cēdere include accede, concede, intercede, precede, recede, secede, and even cede itself.

Examples of retrocede in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Why was Alexandria allowed to retrocede in 1846? Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 23 Apr. 2021 The South Dakota congressional delegation largely shares his view: Rep. Dusty Johnson (R) filed a bill last month to retrocede the District to Maryland. Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'retrocede.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin retrocedere, from retro- + cedere to go, cede

First Known Use

1638, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of retrocede was in 1638


Dictionary Entries Near retrocede

Cite this Entry

“Retrocede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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