retrograde

adjective
ret·​ro·​grade | \ ˈre-trə-ˌgrād How to pronounce retrograde (audio) \

Definition of retrograde

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a(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

retrograde

adverb

Definition of retrograde (Entry 2 of 3)

retrograde

verb
retrograded; retrograding; retrogrades

Definition of retrograde (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

archaic : to turn back : reverse

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from retrograde

Adjective

retrogradely adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for retrograde

Synonyms: Adjective

backward, rearward

Synonyms: Verb

atrophy, crumble, decay, decline, degenerate, descend, deteriorate, devolve, ebb, regress, rot, sink, worsen

Antonyms: Verb

ameliorate, improve, meliorate

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Mercury, everyone's favorite agent of chaos, will enter retrograde tomorrow, March 22. refinery29.com, "How Your Sign Survives Mercury Retrograde," 21 Mar. 2018 Two outer planets go retrograde in your house of home and family at the end of April. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April’s Libra Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 While Pluto is retrograde, pick up on the subtle ways that an obsession with reputation can affect everyone around you. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April's Aries Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 Throughout Mercury retrograde, be careful with your communication. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Then Mercury goes retrograde again from May 24 to December 31. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Your 2017 Love Horoscope: A Parody," 28 Dec. 2016 Venus was retrograde for 40 days and 40 nights and finally resumes forward motion on Friday, November 16. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Don’t forget that Mars is still retrograde until August 27, so take action in bite-sized chunks. Jodie Layne, Teen Vogue, "Lunar Eclipse 2018: What You Need to Know," 27 July 2018 According to astrologer Annie Heese's ephemeris (aka her table of future planetary activity), summer 2018 will see seven planetary retrogrades in total, although the most planets that will be retrograde at one time is six. refinery29.com, "Brace Yourself: Summer 2018 Is Also The Summer Of Retrogrades," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The planet of hard work and loyalty, Saturn, starts its retrograde shortly after, on Monday, April 29 (and lasts until September 18). Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April's Aries Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 Uranus will glide across the Taurus sky from May 15, 2018 through July 7, 2025, with a short break when Uranus retrogrades back to Aries from November 7 of this year until March 6, 2019. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Uranus’s Astrological Transit Into Taurus Means for Your Finances," 10 May 2018 Retrogrades cause the areas ruled by the planet in question to flip upside down and go all wonky, which is why Mercury retrogrades cause delays in communication, as Mercury rules communication. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Oh God, April’s Full Moon in Scorpio and Jupiter Retrograde Will Occur Simultaneously on Sunday Night," 27 Apr. 2018 Bluntly speaking, Mars retrograde means a lack of energy, low libido, disinterest in hitting the gym, and a general lethargy. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "How Mars Retrograde Will Affect Your Love Life and Career This Summer," 2 July 2018 When Mercury is retrograde, thought and communication are less direct, more ponderous, and meandering. Alice Bell, Vogue, "18 Items to Brighten Your Mood During Mercury Retrograde," 6 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of retrograde

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

History and Etymology for retrograde

Adjective

Middle English, from Latin retrogradus, from retrogradi

Verb

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

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Statistics for retrograde

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retrograde

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

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More Definitions for retrograde

retrograde

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of retrograde

formal : returning to an earlier and usually worse state or condition
technical : moving backward

retrograde

adjective
ret·​ro·​grade | \ ˈre-trə-ˌgrād How to pronounce retrograde (audio) \

Medical Definition of retrograde

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, 29 Sept. 1986 — 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

Other Words from retrograde

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, 6 June 1991

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