: to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs)
Did You Know?
We predict that you will guess the correct origins of retrodict, and chances are we will not contradict you. English speakers had started using predict by at least the late 16th century; it's a word formed by combining prae- (meaning "before") and dicere (meaning "to say"). Since the rough translation of predict is "to say before," it's no surprise that when people in the early 20th century wanted a word for "predicting" the past, they created it by combining the prefix for "backward" (retro-) with the -dict of predict. Other dicere descendants in English include contradict, benediction, dictate, diction, and dictionary.
Geologists have retrodicted the positions of the continents millions of years ago.
"PhD students in my lab are developing new ways to retrodict maize production through time, drawing on tree-ring data for climatic information…." — Tim Kohler, quoted in an article at Laboratoryequipment.com, 7 Aug. 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What word related to Latin dicere refers to a pair of marks (") used underneath a word to save space and to show that the word is repeated where the marks are?VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP