[ verb ri-gres; noun ree-gres ]
See synonyms for regress on
verb (used without object)
  1. to move backward; go back.

  2. to revert to an earlier or less advanced state or form.

  1. the act of going back; return.

  2. the right to go back.

  1. backward movement or course; retrogression.

Origin of regress

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English regresse (noun), from Latin regressus “a return,” noun use of past participle of regredī “to go back, return,” from re- re- + -gredī, combining form of gradī “to step, walk, go”; cf. gradient

Other words for regress

Other words from regress

  • re·gres·sor, noun

Words Nearby regress Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use regress in a sentence

  • Most of them will be shorter, however, and tend to regress toward the racial average.

    Psychotherapy | James J. Walsh
  • So that one sex can neither progress nor can it regress by itself; but draws the other onward with it, or drags it back.

    Feminism and Sex-Extinction | Arabella Kenealy
  • The keyhole was still their port of egress and regress, and it resembled the aperture of a beehive, on a sunny day in June.

    Folk-lore and legends: English | Charles John Tibbits
  • Even though this cannot be literally true, they perhaps tend to regress into a dream-mood in thinking of and relating the stories.

    Seven Mohave Myths | A. L. Kroeber

British Dictionary definitions for regress


  1. (intr) to return or revert, as to a former place, condition, or mode of behaviour

  2. (tr) statistics to measure the extent to which (a dependent variable) is associated with one or more independent variables

  1. the act of regressing

  2. movement in a backward direction; retrogression

  1. logic a supposed explanation each stage of which requires to be similarly explained, as saying that knowledge requires a justification in terms of propositions themselves known to be true

Origin of regress

C14: from Latin regressus a retreat, from regredī to go back, from re- + gradī to go

Derived forms of regress

  • regressor, noun

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