ret·​ro·​spec·​tion | \ ˌre-trə-ˈspek-shən How to pronounce retrospection (audio) \

Definition of retrospection

: the act or process or an instance of surveying the past

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of retrospection in a Sentence

This is a time of retrospection for many people. the president is confident that future retrospections will cast his actions in a more favorable light
Recent Examples on the Web Considering the full, bloody scope of some of his greatest works, The Irishman is a work of real retrospection. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Martin Scorsese’s Epic Funeral for the Gangster Genre," 1 Nov. 2019 The line brings us back to the book’s center, a space of retrospection. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "Joy Harjo, the Poet of American Memory," 29 Aug. 2019 Now 70, Russo clearly knows the pleasures and perils of retrospection, and he's constructed a novel about the way the past constantly bleeds into the present. Ron Charles, Dallas News, "In Richard Russo's 'Chances Are...,' a charming reunion unearths a chilling disappearance," 30 July 2019 That period of self-analysis and musical retrospection came to an end in December, when Springsteen on Broadway closed and became a Netflix special. Dan Deluca,, "Bruce Springsteen tries out a new sound, under the ‘Western Stars’," 6 June 2019 The plot of Solo depends heavily on how valuable natural resources can be and how those in power can monopolize (and potentially deplete) them, but retrospection on those facts or sequences exploring the consequences barely comes up. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Solo film review: Best when it embraces its favorite action-movie urges," 24 May 2018 This year marks the 75th anniversary — a time of remembrance and retrospection as the veterans of that war depart us and our national memory fades. Nancy Lord, Alaska Dispatch News, "Remembering a Garfield classic, ‘Thousand-Mile War’," 9 Sep. 2017 With the benefit of retrospection, Lundgren recalled experiencing a considerable range of emotions on his way back to being 100 percent. Steve Reaven,, "Buffalo Grove's John Lundgren pitches his way past two knee injuries," 28 May 2017 Yet even his approach to retrospection feels groundbreaking. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "John Cale’s Inventive Retrospection," 30 Jan. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of retrospection

1624, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about retrospection

Time Traveler for retrospection

Time Traveler

The first known use of retrospection was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Statistics for retrospection

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Retrospection.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for retrospection


How to pronounce retrospection (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of retrospection

formal : the act of thinking about the past or something that happened in the past

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on retrospection

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for retrospection

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retrospection

Britannica English: Translation of retrospection for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about retrospection

Comments on retrospection

What made you want to look up retrospection? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assail by words or arguments

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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