ret·​ro·​gres·​sive | \ ˌre-trə-ˈgre-siv How to pronounce retrogressive (audio) \

Definition of retrogressive

: characterized by retrogression: such as
a : going or directed backward
b : declining from a better to a worse state
c : passing from a higher to a lower level of organization retrogressive evolution

Other Words from retrogressive

retrogressively adverb

Examples of retrogressive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Representation can help change this retrogressive thinking. Elissa Strauss, CNN, 3 Dec. 2020 Those against Brexit portrayed it as historically retrogressive, taking the country out of the collective European project while imperiling access to the European marketplace — the destination for nearly half of the nation’s exports. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2019 But Tan appears to be responding to the retrogressive entrenchment of hard-line conservative values and intolerance in pockets of American life today. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retrogressive.' 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 retrogressive

1688, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for retrogressive

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The first known use of retrogressive was in 1688

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Cite this Entry

“Retrogressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for retrogressive



English Language Learners Definition of retrogressive

: causing a return to an earlier and usually worse state


ret·​ro·​gres·​sive | \ -ˈgres-iv How to pronounce retrogressive (audio) \

Medical Definition of retrogressive

: characterized by retrogression: as
a : declining from a better to a worse state a retrogressive disease
b : passing from a higher to a lower level of organization retrogressive evolution


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