Word of the Day : August 8, 2011


verb ret-roh-SEED


1 : to go back : recede

2 : to cede back (as a territory)


A congressman introduced a bill to retrocede the land to its original owner, but it was defeated.

"Once upon a time -- more than 160 years ago -- Arlington County and part of the city of Alexandria fell within the District's limits, completing a full diamond that spanned the Potomac River. Or at least it did until 1847, when the federal government retroceded those territories back to Virginia." -- From a blog post by Matt Bevilacqua on Washington City Paper, July 9, 2011

Did You Know?

"Retrocede" was formed by combining the prefix "retro-," meaning "back" or "backward," with the Latin verb "cedere," meaning "to go." It was borrowed into English in the mid-17th century with a very similar meaning. "Retrocede" has a bit of a twist, however, because "cedere" can also mean "cede" ("to yield or assign"); the "cede back" meaning of "retrocede" traces back through French and Medieval Latin to this other meaning of "cedere." Other descendants of "cedere" include "accede," "concede," "intercede," "precede," "recede," "secede," and even "cede" itself.

Test Your Memory

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