Synonym Chooser

How is the word retard distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of retard are delay, detain, slacken, and slow. While all these words mean "to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress," retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping.

language barriers retarded their progress

When can delay be used instead of retard?

The meanings of delay and retard largely overlap; however, delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival.

bad weather delayed our arrival

When might detain be a better fit than retard?

The words detain and retard can be used in similar contexts, but detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time.

unexpected business had detained her

When could slacken be used to replace retard?

While in some cases nearly identical to retard, slacken suggests an easing up or relaxing of power or effort.

on hot days runners slacken their pace

How do slow and slacken relate to one another, in the sense of retard?

Both slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention.

medication slowed the patient's heart rate

Thesaurus Entries Near retard

Cite this Entry

“Retard.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

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