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 Perhaps Drake and Taylor Swift will rise as Fleetwood Mac did, an über-popular act reborn amid retrospective critical appraisal. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "The Futility of Rolling Stone’s Best-Albums List," 2 Oct. 2020 But beyond his misadventure in Chicago eight years ago, Pagano wasn't really in a retrospective mood. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Chuck Pagano hoping to create fonder memories in Windy City when Colts visit Bears," 2 Oct. 2020 The coverage vacuum in recent months has also cleared the way for a boom in retrospective writing. Jordan Crucchiola, Wired, "On the Future of (Going to the) Movies," 1 Oct. 2020 At some point down the road, the Zone will present a sort of retrospective, featuring a wide selection of murals. Ryan Kost, SFChronicle.com, "What will happen to the plywood murals of 2020?," 27 Sep. 2020 The Rocket Man is blasting off into the deepest reaches of his career with a new retrospective box set. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Elton John releasing Jewel Box set of rare recordings, B-sides, more," 17 Sep. 2020 This October, a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery in London will bring together about thirty of her pieces, from museums and private collections across Europe and the United States. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "A Fuller Picture of Artemisia Gentileschi," 28 Sep. 2020 At present, the government can push new rules through and then put them to a later, retrospective vote among members of Parliament. Alex Morales, Bloomberg.com, "Tory Rebellion Over U.K. Government Covid Powers Gains Momentum," 27 Sep. 2020 This is her latest stop in an accomplished international career that includes the first retrospective exhibition given by New York’s Guggenheim Museum to an African-American female artist. Benjamin Lima, Dallas News, "Can art help fight the coronavirus?," 25 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tell me a little about the works in your Pace show this fall and your Hirshhorn retrospective in 2022. Cody Delistraty, WSJ, "86-Year-Old Artist Sam Gilliam Looks Back on a Tumultuous, Legendary Life," 13 Oct. 2020 About 90 minutes before kickoff, the Notre Dame Stadium videoboard played a 20-minute retrospective on the 1993 Game of the Century between Florida State and Notre Dame. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Instant Observations: Rusty No. 5 Notre Dame returns to work with 42-26 victory," 11 Oct. 2020 The need for this type of organization, its members say, was amplified most recently by the decision by four museums to postpone a Philip Guston retrospective until 2024 because of its images of the Ku Klux Klan. Robin Pogrebin, New York Times, "Black Trustees Join Forces to Make Art Museums More Diverse," 9 Oct. 2020 In another work—Your Blind Passenger, displayed at a Tate Modern retrospective in 2019—participants walked through a 45-meter long tunnel of dense fog. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "This AR App Brings the Northern Lights and Other Natural Phenomena Into Your Living Room," 15 May 2020 Though disturbing, these paintings have influenced generations of later painters; they were exhibited without incident at the last major Guston retrospective, staged in 2003–04 in New York, San Francisco, Fort Worth and London. Jason Farago, New York Times, "The Philip Guston Show Should Be Reinstated," 30 Sep. 2020 Two years ago, Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum gave the artist a six-decade retrospective. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Cézanne, Picasso and a T. Rex—This Auction Season, Anything Goes," 30 Sep. 2020 Last week’s news retrospective showed old tapes of Clinton using the Thurgood Marshall line in nominating RBG. David Lebedoff, Star Tribune, "How RBG almost missed being a justice," 26 Sep. 2020 The retrospective was organized by the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, based on the bestselling book by journalist Irin Carmon and attorney Shana Knizhnik. Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Notorious RBG exhibit lauding former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to land at Maltz Museum," 22 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for retrospective

Time Traveler

The first known use of retrospective was in 1664

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Statistics for retrospective

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Retrospective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retrospective. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for retrospective

retrospective

adjective
How to pronounce retrospective (audio)

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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Comments on retrospective

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