ret·​ro·​fit ˈre-trō-ˌfit How to pronounce retrofit (audio)
retrofitted or retrofit; retrofitting; retrofits

transitive verb

: to furnish (something, such as a computer, airplane, or building) with new or modified parts or equipment not available or considered necessary at the time of manufacture
: to install (new or modified parts or equipment) in something previously manufactured or constructed
: to adapt to a new purpose or need : modify
retrofit the story for a new audience

Did you know?

The concept of retrofitting became an urgent necessity during World War II, when weapons technology was advancing at an intense pace and planes and ships were becoming outdated even before their construction was complete, and the only solution was to retrofit the completed craft with the brand-new technology. Retrofitting was revived on a massive scale during the energy crisis of the 1970s, when new features were added to millions of old houses to make them more energy-efficient. Retrofitting is thus different from merely renovating, which may not involve any new technology at all.

Examples of retrofit in a Sentence

The factory has been retrofitted to meet the new safety regulations. We can retrofit your car with the new fuel system.
Recent Examples on the Web The original hospital building, now called memorial’s central tower, and the complex’s south tower, will largely be demolished, though their first few stories will be retrofitted. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Nov. 2023 The cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Santa Monica require non-ductile concrete buildings in the city limits to be retrofitted, with deadlines ranging from 2027 to the 2040s. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 More regulatory support would help to build or retrofit the pipeline network to transport hydrogen, according to Ole Rolser, also a partner at McKinsey. Yusuf Khan, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2023 The airline hopes to retrofit its entire mainline fleet by the end of 2026. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 29 Sep. 2023 That means civilian gigs like managing forests to prevent wildfires, preserving coastal wetlands to mitigate sea-level rise, and retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2023 But as more heat pumps roll off the assembly line, the nation will need workers to install them—and more broadly to retrofit the aging electrical grid that powers them. WIRED, 17 Nov. 2023 There are also billions in the offing to help heavy industries retrofit to lower their carbon emissions, which tends to help with particulate matter as well. Lydia Depillis, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 But under Netflix’s ownership, the Egyptian’s exterior and interior, ornately adorned with hieroglyphics and sphinxes, have been restored, the theater’s lighting and sound system have been upgraded and the theater has been seismically retrofitted to meet a city mandate. Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of retrofit was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near retrofit

Cite this Entry

“Retrofit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ret·​ro·​fit ˈre-trō-ˌfit How to pronounce retrofit (audio)
: to install (new or modified parts or equipment) in something previously manufactured or constructed

More from Merriam-Webster on retrofit

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