retrospective

1 of 2

adjective

ret·​ro·​spec·​tive ˌre-trə-ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce retrospective (audio)
1
a(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
retrospectively adverb

retrospective

2 of 2

noun

: 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

Did you know?

At the end of the year, both introspection and retrospection are common. While introspection involves looking inward and taking stock of oneself, retrospection is all about recollecting and contemplating things that happened in the past. A look back at the history of the related adjective retrospective reveals that it retains a strong connection to its past; its Latin source is retrospicere, meaning “to look back at.” Retrospective can also be used as a noun referring to an exhibition that “looks back” at an artist’s work created over a span of years. Once you have retrospective and retrospection behind you, you can also add their kin retrospect and retro to your vocabulary, too.

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Methods This retrospective cohort study included 200 Stand-up Comedians (13% women), 113 Comedy Actors (17.5% women), and 184 Dramatic Actors (29.3% women) listed in the top 200 in each category in a popular online ranking website. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 13 July 2018 In the spring of 2023, the Rijksmuseum, will dedicate a retrospective exhibition to the 17th-century master Johannes Vermeer for the first time in its history. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 However, immersed in retrospective data, Fed heads should not confuse the past with the present, let alone with the future. Steven Tian, Fortune, 28 Sep. 2022 Based on some of the most dramatic paintings in this retrospective, such as The Life Line (1884) and Undertow (1886), the artist clearly anticipated the dangers inherent in climate change. Phyllis Tuchman, Town & Country, 4 Mar. 2022 Works by the multimedia artist, known for her visually striking collages that combine black-and-white images with boldface type, are featured in a decades-spanning, campus-wide retrospective March 20 through July 17. Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2022 Daoud A, Geissler G, Wang F, Saretsky J, Daoud Y, Lieberman D. Foot strike and injury rates in endurance runners: a retrospective study. Tom Michaud, Outside Online, 1 Aug. 2018 New York’s Museum of Modern Art is planning a major Ed Ruscha retrospective for 2023. Carolina A. Mirandacolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2022 Instead, the track serves as a retrospective addressing her many painful brushes with love. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 21 Oct. 2022
Noun
The band plans to dig deep into the Reckless Kelly catalog over the next three years, unearthing music that has rotated out of setlists so that each show can act as a retrospective. Josh Crutchmer, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 2022 In addition, the Press Club paid tribute to Angela Lansbury, who died in October, with a video retrospective of her roles and footage of her appearance at the 2016 NAEJ Awards. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Dec. 2022 BLINKs who were hoping for a retrospective on BLACKPINK‘s Born Pink era may be in luck. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 1 Dec. 2022 For the career retrospective, the Bring It On actress chose a sophisticated spin on a cozy sweater dress while dipping her toe into the naked dress trend. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Nov. 2022 Not only does the evening offer an incredible retrospective of each person's career, but plenty of A-list talent come out to present and be part of the celebration. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 25 Dec. 2022 There’s more: MoMA will also screen Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, present a retrospective of his previous films and host a Carte Blanche film series, curated by the director. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 Wales Bonner eventually traveled to Antwerp to see a retrospective of his work that was being shown at the M HKA, the city’s museum of contemporary art. Laia Garcia-furtado, Vogue, 8 June 2022 The 20-year-old pop star confirmed her relationship with The Neighbourhood frontman, 31, during her annual sit-down retrospective with Vanity Fair released Monday. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

1929, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of retrospective was in 1664

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Dictionary Entries Near retrospective

Cite this Entry

“Retrospective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retrospective. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

retrospective

1 of 2 adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive ˌre-trə-ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce retrospective (audio)
: of, relating to, or given to retrospection
retrospectively adverb

retrospective

2 of 2 noun
: an exhibition, compilation, or performance of work that an artist has done in the past

Medical Definition

retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive -ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce retrospective (audio)
1
a
: 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
retrospectively adverb

Legal Definition

retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive ˈre-trə-ˌspek-tiv How to pronounce retrospective (audio)
: 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
retrospectively adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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