retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive | \ˌre-trə-ˈspek-tiv \

Definition of retrospective 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : of, relating to, or given to retrospection

(2) : based on memory a retrospective report

b : being a retrospective a retrospective exhibition

2 : affecting things past : retroactive retrospective laws

3 : relating to or being a study (as of a disease) that starts with the present condition of a population of individuals and collects data about their past history to explain their present condition

retrospective

noun

Definition of retrospective (Entry 2 of 2)

: a generally comprehensive exhibition, compilation, or performance of the work of an artist over a span of years broadly : review sense 7a a retrospective of 20th century haute couture

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Other Words from retrospective

Adjective

retrospectively adverb

Did You Know?

Adjective

Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again, wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his 1839 novel Hyperion. But these days the past is trendy, old-fashioned is hip, and "flea-market vogue" is not an oxymoron. And of course, "retrospective" is as retro as it gets. A glance at the history of "retrospective" reveals that it traces back to the Latin retro- (meaning "back," "behind," or "backward") and "specere" (meaning "to look at"). Once you have "retrospective" behind you, you can also add its kin "retrospect" (which is used as a noun, an adjective, and a verb) and "retrospection" to your vocabulary, too. "Retrospective" can also be used as a noun, referring to an exhibition that "looks back" at artistic work created over a span of years.

Examples of retrospective in a Sentence

Adjective

They issued a retrospective report. a retrospective analysis of what went wrong The museum is having a retrospective exhibit of the artist's early works.

Noun

The museum is featuring a retrospective of Picasso's early works.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Epilogue Michael Macalla, a member of the 1929 mission to recover remains from Russia, wrote a retrospective report on the operation, dated July 26, 1965. WSJ, "Archangel Endnotes," 9 Nov. 2018 Northeastern University economics professor John Kwoka’s retrospective assessment of recent mergers finds that this kind of mistake has been made often. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Amazon’s looming challenge: Europe’s antitrust laws," 21 Sep. 2018 Another 2018 retrospective study investigated those who drank alkaline water, consumed a low-acid, low-fat diet, and made behavioral changes, versus another group who took medication and made behavioral modifications. SELF, "What Even Is Alkaline Water and Is It Really Better Than Regular Water?," 6 Sep. 2018 The first time being in 2005 at its Fifth Avenue store (to coincide with its 2005 retrospective exhibition at The Met) and the second being a year later at Grand Central Station for its Resort 2007 collection. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chanel to Stage Its First New York Fashion Show in Over a Decade," 4 Sep. 2018 On July 6, Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney, a retrospective homage to Whitney Houston, opened to a solid $1.2 million in limited release. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What’s Driving Documentaries to Box-Office Success?," 11 July 2018 UC Davis oncologist David Gandara reported a retrospective analysis of seven different trials of the checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq in lung and bladder cancer, melanoma, and other tumors. Ken Garber, Science | AAAS, "Mutation-counting blood test could predict if cutting-edge immunotherapies can beat a cancer," 27 June 2018 There have been several calls since for Noble to face retrospective punishment for his actions after both escaped with only a yellow card from referee Jon Moss. SI.com, "Mark Noble Responds to Paul Pogba Incident on Twitter After Pairing's Clash in Stalemate," 11 May 2018 Brown’s retrospective opinion based upon tests assessing [Sirhan’s] mental condition forty years after the fact are of negligible weight. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "The assassination of Bobby Kennedy: Was Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized to be the fall guy?," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Performance artist Marina Abramovic has her first Italian retrospective here until Jan. 20. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In a Struggling Italy, Florence Homes Enjoy a New Renaissance," 28 Nov. 2018 The first major Alexander Girard retrospective will be heading to Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 2019. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Alexander Girard’s forgotten textile patterns find new life as rugs," 9 Nov. 2018 In reviewing decades of work for your retrospective, is there a series that feels newly ripe for this moment? Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Artist Laurie Simmons Just Made Her First Wearable Artwork: A Bold Red Lipstick," 22 Oct. 2018 Some of my structure in the The Handmaid’s Tale was retrospective. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Margaret Atwood Talks Ambition: The Handmaid’s Tale Author Joins Boldfacers at the Tory Burch Foundation’s First-Ever Summit," 25 Apr. 2018 Later in his career, Vollbracht was largely associated with Bill Blass, helping the designer with his 2002 museum retrospective at Indiana University and later taking over the creative reigns from Lars Nilsson in 2003. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "In memoriam through June 9: Three KC fashion and art icons and a beloved chef," 9 June 2018 On Friday, the French fashion house — perhaps best known for its monogrammed travel trunks — opened its traveling brand retrospective at the Westfield Century City shopping center in Los Angeles. Lindzi Scharf, latimes.com, "Louis Vuitton's traveling 'Time Capsule' exhibition makes its U.S. debut, popping up in Los Angeles," 18 May 2018 There have been plenty of outstanding retrospectives in the past day or so about former SEC commish Mike Slive, who passed away on Wednesday. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Morning Coffee: NCAA Tournament expansion to 72 teams? Please, don't," 18 May 2018 This must-see retrospective — curated with real wit by Quentin Bajac, MoMA’s photo chief — opens with Mr. Shore’s teenage snaps at Andy Warhol’s Factory. New York Times, "23 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 17 May 2018

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

Adjective

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

1929, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retrospective

The first known use of retrospective was in 1664

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More Definitions for retrospective

retrospective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of retrospective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the past or something that happened in the past

: effective from a particular date in the past

retrospective

noun

English Language Learners Definition of retrospective (Entry 2 of 2)

: an exhibition of work that an artist has done in the past

retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive | \-ˈspek-tiv \

Medical Definition of retrospective 

1a : of, relating to, or given to introspection

b : relating to or being a study (as of a disease) that starts with the present condition of a population of individuals and collects data about their past history to explain their present condition — compare prospective

2 : based on memory

Other Words from retrospective

retrospectively adverb

retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive | \ˈre-trə-ˌspek-tiv \

Legal Definition of retrospective 

: affecting things past : retroactive specifically : of, relating to, or being a law that takes away or impairs vested rights, creates new duties or obligations, or attaches new disabilities with respect to acts and transactions completed before its enactment

Other Words from retrospective

retrospectively adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on retrospective

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retrospective

Spanish Central: Translation of retrospective

Nglish: Translation of retrospective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retrospective for Arabic Speakers

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