• synonyms


  1. bent backward; exhibiting retroflexion.
  2. Phonetics. articulated with the tip of the tongue curled upward and back against or near the juncture of the hard and soft palates; cacuminal; cerebral; coronal.
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Also ret·ro·flexed [re-truh-flekst] /ˈrɛ trəˌflɛkst/.

Origin of retroflex

First recorded in 1910–15, retroflex is from the Latin word retrōflexus (past participle of retrōflectere to bend back). See retro-, flex1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for retroflex

Historical Examples of retroflex

  • The retroflex sibilant is transliterated sh; this was unchanged.

    Chips from a German Workshop - Volume IV

    Max Mller

  • This curve shows a point of maximum temperature at F1, and a retroflex portion F1G1.

  • This curve also shows a point of maximum temperature (F) and a retroflex portion.

British Dictionary definitions for retroflex



  1. bent or curved backwards
  2. phonetics of, relating to, or involving retroflexion
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Word Origin for retroflex

C18: from Latin retrōflexus, from retrōflectere, from retro- + flectere to bend
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 retroflex


1776, from Modern Latin retroflexus, past participle of retroflectere "to bend back," from retro (see retro-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible). The verb (1898) is a back-formation from retroflexed (1806), from the adjective.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper