retrospective

adjective
ret·​ro·​spec·​tive | \ ˌre-trə-ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce retrospective (audio) \

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

Break out the body glitter, queue up the boy bands, and take a retrospective look at the best beauty moments in 2000s movie history below, along with tips on how to recreate each one in our modern day of makeup. Allure, "The Most Iconic Makeup and Hair Moments From Your Favorite Early 2000s Teen Movies," 4 Apr. 2019 NBCGetty Images Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman did a retrospective interview with Rolling Stone, and said once again that there will be no revival of the show. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "We're Definitely Never Ever Getting a 'Friends' Revival, and This Is Why," 13 Mar. 2019 Here, a retrospective look at her most striking—and provocative—beauty looks of all time. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Veruschka! The '60s Supermodel's Best Beauty Looks of All Time," 14 May 2018 This June in Chicago Following a performance at Coachella, making him the first fashion designer to ever preside over Indio, California, Virgil Abloh will open a retrospective exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art this June. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "11 Reasons to Be Excited About The Year in Fashion," 4 Jan. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eugenie wasn't the only royal feeling retrospective this week; her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth also revealed her favorite moments of 2018 on social media. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie Just Shared a New Photo of the Day She Got Engaged," 2 Jan. 2019 The artist, whose breakthrough depictions of American flags and targets in the 1950s jolted painting away from abstract expressionism, is focused on new projects, not retrospectives. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Jasper Johns Isn’t Done Yet," 22 Sep. 2018 Still, Mitchell is loath to call the show a retrospective. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "With His First Solo Exhibit, Photographer Tyler Mitchell Paints a Tender Portrait of Black Joy," 15 Apr. 2019 The show has been described as a retrospective, but odyssey is more like it. WSJ, "‘Dior: From Paris to the World’ Review: Timelessly Elegant, Yet Avant-Garde," 27 Nov. 2018 To honor her brother and the 20th anniversary of his death, Donatella staged a tribute collection in Milan last fall with a retrospective—or reinterpretation—of his iconic fashions. Kate Betts, Town & Country, "Family Tragedy: Inside the Versace Drama," 31 Jan. 2018 And along with their huge selection of goods, the gallery will also be home to frequent exhibitions and events, from retrospectives on the work of different designers to lecture series and media collaborations. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "The Gallery At 200 Lex Powered By Incollect Is The Ultimate Antiques Destination," 23 Jan. 2019 The Film Society of Lincoln Center hosts a welcome retrospective celebrating the partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. New York Times, "6 Dance Performances to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 This isn’t a career retrospective or a treatise on the importance and wide influence of Grace Jones. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "Review: ‘Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami’ Finds the Model, Singer, Actress, Person," 12 Apr. 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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Statistics for retrospective

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce retrospective (audio) \

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 How to pronounce retrospective (audio) \

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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