retrograde

1 of 3

adjective

ret·​ro·​grade ˈre-trə-ˌgrād How to pronounce retrograde (audio)
1
a(1)
: having or being motion in a direction contrary to that of the general motion of similar bodies and especially east to west among the stars
Saturn is retrograde for another week
(2)
: having or being a direction of rotation or revolution that is clockwise as viewed from the north pole of the sky or a planet
a retrograde orbit
b
: moving, occurring, or performed in a backward direction
c
: occurring or performed in a direction opposite to the normal or forward direction of conduction or flow: such as
(1)
: occurring along nerve cell processes toward the cell body
retrograde degeneration of nerve fibers
compare anterograde sense 1a
(2)
: occurring opposite to the normal direction or path of blood circulation
retrograde blood flow in veins with incompetent valves
compare anterograde sense 1b
d
: contrary to the normal order : inverse
2
: tending toward or resulting in a worse or previous state
3
archaic : contradictory, opposed
4
: characterized by retrogression
5
: affecting memories of a period prior to a precipitating event (such as brain injury or disease)
retrograde amnesia
compare anterograde sense 2
6
: retro
retrograde fashion
retrogradely adverb

retrograde

2 of 3

adverb

retrograde

3 of 3

verb

retrograded; retrograding; retrogrades

transitive verb

archaic : to turn back : reverse

intransitive verb

1
a
: to go back : retreat
b
: to go back over or recapitulate something
2
: to decline to a worse condition

Did you know?

Retrograde describes backwardness of one kind or another. If a country decided to go back to amputating the limbs of criminals, we might call that policy retrograde. A retrograde view of women might be one that sees them basically as housekeepers. Mars and Jupiter show retrograde (backward) motion at some stages of their orbits, though this is only because of the way we see them from the earth, not because of any real backward movement.

Example Sentences

Adjective a retrograde policy that would leave more people poorer than they are now retrograde pedaling will engage the brakes on that bike Verb the Dark Ages, the period following the fall of the Roman Empire when Western civilization seriously retrograded
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Your year starts off slow and steady, similar to the last few months of 2022 as your ruling planet, Mars, is still retrograde when January begins. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Dec. 2022 But Venus will be retrograde during wedding season, so plan ahead! ELLE, 1 Dec. 2022 If that seems retrograde or naïve today, well, the Philadelphia Orchestra suggested that attitude couldn’t be more timely. Vulture, 9 Feb. 2022 For starters, lusty Mars, who’s been turning up the heat in your partnership realm since August 20, is now retrograde until January 12. ELLE, 30 Nov. 2022 Or acknowledges the damage that can happen when the media insists on a retrograde definition of masculinity. Sara Stewart, CNN, 10 Nov. 2022 In his stage persona, Mr. Gordon seemed to revel in capturing that era in musical amber — cultivating a retrograde sartorial style and image, performing in vintage sport coats or tank tops, and always sporting a tower of jet-black hair. Terence Mcardle, Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2022 Mercury ends the retrograde journey on October 2 after moonwalking since September 9. Lisa Stardust, refinery29.com, 27 Sep. 2022 This lunation loosely connects with the action planet Mars (which is currently in Gemini), aligns with revolutionary Uranus (which is retrograde in Taurus), and the karmic Nodes of Destiny that are traveling along the Taurus-Scorpio path. Lisa Stardust, refinery29.com, 8 Sep. 2022
Verb
Venus, the Planet of Pleasure, goes retrograde this summer, from July 22 to September 3. Narayana Montúfar, refinery29.com, 9 Jan. 2023 Mars goes retrograde from October 30 until January 13, giving you a window of over two months of focused practice. Kirah Tabourn, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Sep. 2022 Even the most dislikable, retrograde, and self-absorbed conductors understand that their mission is to cajole great music out of talented colleagues, the ones who actually do all the blowing and bowing. Justin Davidson, Vulture, 11 Oct. 2022 But many retrograde African leaders– including 10 who attended in 2014—will soon touch down in Washington, walk the red carpet at the White House, and smile for photographs that will assuredly be used for propaganda purposes back home. Jeffrey Smith, Time, 13 Dec. 2022 With action planet Mars now retrograde in YOUR sign from October 30 until January 12, conserving your energy is imperative for the rest of the year. ELLE, 30 Nov. 2022 The primal Sun in Sagittarius busies itself with warrior Mars, currently retrograde in Gemini, leaving us scrambling to handle everything on our plates. Chicago Tribune, 7 Dec. 2022 Mars takes roughly two Earth years to make its way around the sun and therefore goes retrograde every two years, as well. Emily Newhouse, Allure, 6 Dec. 2022 Mars, now retrograde, is adding stress to your relationship realm. ELLE, 30 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retrograde.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Latin retrogradus, from retrogradi

Verb

Latin retrogradi, from retro- + gradi to go — more at grade entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Adverb

circa 1620, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of retrograde was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near retrograde

Cite this Entry

“Retrograde.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retrograde. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

retrograde

adjective
ret·​ro·​grade
ˈre-trə-ˌgrād
1
: having a backward direction or motion
2
: tending toward or resulting in a worse or previous state

Medical Definition

retrograde

adjective
ret·​ro·​grade ˈre-trə-ˌgrād How to pronounce retrograde (audio)
1
: characterized by retrogression
2
: affecting memories of a period prior to a precipitating event (as brain injury or disease)
In retrograde amnesia, the victim can remember only what has happened since he lost his memory; everything before that is irretrievable.Jean Seligmann, Newsweek
compare anterograde sense 1
3
: occurring or performed in a direction opposite to the normal or forward direction of conduction or flow: as
a
: occurring along nerve cell processes toward the cell body
retrograde axonal transport
retrograde degeneration of nerve fibers
b
: occurring opposite to the normal direction or path of blood circulation
apply bandaging to the lower extremities to produce pressure to reduce retrograde blood flow in veins with incompetent valves
compare anterograde sense 2
retrogradely adverb
The ablation catheter was then inserted through the right femoral arterial sheath and advanced retrogradely into the left ventricle. Warren M. Jackman, The New England Journal of Medicine

More from Merriam-Webster on retrograde

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