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[re-truh-gres, re-truh-gres] /ˌrɛ trəˈgrɛs, ˈrɛ trəˌgrɛs/
verb (used without object)
to go backward into an earlier and usually worse condition:
to retrogress to infantilism.
to move backward.
Origin of retrogress
1810-20; < Latin retrōgressus past participle of retrōgradī to go back or backward, equivalent to retrō- retro- + gred-, combining form of gradī to step, go (see grade) + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > ss
1. decline, degenerate, retrograde, withdraw, retreat, revert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for retrogress
Historical Examples
  • But, as a matter of fact, there are species which are arrested; there are some that retrogress.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • What had caused the man to retrogress Luis and Luise Obispo?

    Forget Me Nearly Floyd L. Wallace
  • We don't stand still or retrogress; we keep going on and up.

    The Drums Of Jeopardy Harold MacGrath
  • Would I could retrogress over the devious and enchanting itinerary.


    Christopher Morley
  • According to him the eyes of Proteus may develop to a certain point and then retrogress again.

  • In extremely exceptional instances the disease, after involving a small part, may retrogress and recovery take place.

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin

    Henry Weightman Stelwagon
  • That certain animals degenerate or retrogress in their development is susceptible of ready and familiar illustration.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
British Dictionary definitions for retrogress


verb (intransitive)
to go back to an earlier, esp worse, condition; degenerate or deteriorate
to move backwards; recede
(biology) to develop characteristics or features of lower or simpler organisms; degenerate
Derived Forms
retrogression, noun
retrogressive, adjective
retrogressively, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from Latin retrōgressus having moved backwards, from retrōgradī; see retrograde
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for retrogress

"move backward; deteriorate," 1816, probably a back-formation from retrogression. Related: Retrogressed; retrogressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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