verb ret·ro·dict \ˌre-trə-ˈdikt\

Definition of retrodict

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs)


play \-ˈdik-shən\ noun


play \-ˈdik-tiv\ adjective

retrodict was our Word of the Day on 11/13/2010. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

We predict that you will guess the correct origins of retrodict, and chances are we will not contradict you. English speakers had started using predict by at least the early 17th century; it's a word formed by combining prae- (meaning "before") and dicere (meaning "to say"). Since the rough translation of predict is "to say before," it's no surprise that when people in the 1950s wanted a word for predicting the past, they created it by combining the prefix for "backward" (retro-) with the -dict of predict. Other dicere descendants in English include contradict, benediction, dictate, diction, and dictionary.

Origin and Etymology of retrodict

retro- + predict

First Known Use: 1940

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Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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