[ ri-tahrd, for 1-3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4 ]
See synonyms for retard on
verb (used with object)
  1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

verb (used without object)
  1. to be delayed.

  1. a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.

  2. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.

    • a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who is cognitively impaired.

    • a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way.

  1. 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.: Compare advance (def. 28).

Origin of retard

First recorded in 1480–90; from Latin retardāre to delay, protract, equivalent to re- re- + tardāre “to loiter, be slow,” derivative of tardus “slow”; see tardy

usage note For retard

See retarded.

Other words for retard

Opposites for retard

Other words from retard

  • re·tard·ing·ly, adverb

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

British Dictionary definitions for retard


  1. (tr) to delay or slow down (the progress, speed, or development) of (something)

  1. US offensive a retarded person

  2. US offensive a foolish person

Origin of 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