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.

Examples of retrograde in a Sentence

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
Mercury retrograde from November 25 to December 15, 2024, in Sagittarius The adventurous zodiac sign Sagittarius is slowed down quite a bit by a retrograde Mercury. Hannah Madlener, Glamour, 20 Dec. 2023 On December 6, Neptune, the planet of illusions and delusions, will turn direct in Pisces, having been retrograde since June 30. Lisa Stardust, refinery29.com, 5 Dec. 2023 The episode was a disappointing development in an otherwise promising season — a surprisingly retrograde move for a show that's clearly trying to be timely. Alanna Bennett, refinery29.com, 25 Aug. 2023 This particular new moon aspects both Uranus retrograde and Neptune retrograde, and the planetary ruler of the new moon in Virgo is Mercury, which is also retrograde. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 15 Sep. 2023 This new moon opposes Pluto, the Planet of Destruction, who is currently retrograde in Capricorn. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 17 July 2023 Mercury is also retrograde at this point, which may have added layers of confusion to things, in addition to your finances and spending. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Dec. 2022 Xi Jinping is retrograde. CBS News, 1 Feb. 2023 Romancing the Stone is a swinging-across-ravines actioner, a fish-out-of-water comedy, an opposites-attract love story, and an admittedly retrograde depiction of a Latin American country. Vulture, 29 Apr. 2022
Verb
Your social life has been getting buffeted by a cosmic whirlwind, due to Mercury retrograding through your friendly 11th house. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2023 From April 1st through 25th, Mercury will retrograde through your 4th house of roots. Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Mar. 2024 His publication, The American Mercury—perhaps the greatest literary journal of the age and also home to retrograde political opinions—ran revisionist accounts of the war, which shifted blame away from Germany. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, 1 Mar. 2024 You've possibly been put through the wringer while Mercury retrograded through your 8th House of Shared Resources, but its return to direct motion will detangle any knots and give you the space to breathe. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2023 Jupiter, which rules your ninth house of travel and long journeys, stations retrograde on the 4th, however. Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Aug. 2023 This full moon connects with expansive Jupiter, currently retrograde in the sign of Taurus, and with Saturn, which is in Pisces. Lisa Stardust, refinery29.com, 21 Dec. 2023 Mercury enters Capricorn on the 1st and stations retrograde on the 13th, making a number of productive aspects along the way. Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Nov. 2023 Mercury stations retrograde in your 2nd house on the 13th, which means most of December might amount to an audit of your finances. Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Nov. 2023

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

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 26 May. 2024.

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!