• synonyms


[ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be delayed.
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  1. a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.
  2. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
    1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who is cognitively impaired.
    2. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
  3. Automotive, Machinery. an adjustment made in the setting of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine so that the spark for ignition in each cylinder is generated later in the cycle.
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Compare advance.

Origin of retard

1480–90; < Latin retardāre to delay, protract, equivalent to re- re- + tardāre to loiter, be slow, derivative of tardus slow; see tardy
Related formsre·tard·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for retard

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Antonyms for retard

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for retard

decelerate, handicap, lessen, impede, crimp, hamper, defer, loaf, clog, fetter, reduce, down, dawdle, decrease, check, hesitate, poke, detain, delay, arrest

British Dictionary definitions for retard


verb (rɪˈtɑːd)
  1. (tr) to delay or slow down (the progress, speed, or development) of (something)
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noun (ˈriːtɑːd)
  1. US offensive a retarded person
  2. US offensive a foolish person
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Word Origin for retard

C15: from Old French retarder, from Latin retardāre, from re- + tardāre to make slow, from tardus sluggish; see tardy
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

Word Origin and History for retard


late 15c., "make slow or slower," from French retarder "restrain, hold (someone) back, keep (someone from doing something); come to a stop" (13c.) or directly from Latin retardare "make slow, delay, keep back, hinder" (see retardation). Related: Retarded; retarding.

The noun is recorded from 1788 in the sense "retardation, delay;" from 1970 in offensive meaning "retarded person," originally American English, with accent on first syllable. Other words used for "one who is mentally retarded" include retardate (1956), retardee (1971).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper