- moving backward; having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating.
- inverse or reversed, as order.
- Chiefly Biology. exhibiting degeneration or deterioration.
- moving in an orbit in the direction opposite to that of the earth in its revolution around the sun.
- appearing to move on the celestial sphere in the direction opposite to the natural order of the signs of the zodiac, or from east to west.Compare direct(def 25).
- Music. proceeding from the last note to the first: a melody in retrograde motion.
- Archaic. contrary; opposed.
- to move or go backward; retire or retreat.
- Chiefly Biology. to decline to a worse condition; degenerate.
- Astronomy. to have a retrograde motion.
- Archaic. to turn back.
Origin of retrograde
SynonymsSee more synonyms for retrograde on Thesaurus.com
1. withdrawing, receding. 2. backward. 7. withdraw, recede, retrocede.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for retrograde
The Muslim Brotherhood is a retrograde, conservative religious movement.Neocon Scholar: Keep Bloodying The Brotherhood
August 16, 2013
“Women are seeing the retrograde direction of this party,” she asserts.Democrats and Republicans Reignite Fight Over VAWA
January 29, 2013
Diaspora Jews—stuck in ghettos with retrograde Halachic norms—lacked these Hebrew things.Israel Must Recognize Israel
May 16, 2012
Note: negative manifestation of this retrograde is overindulgence in that which artificially stills your racing mind.Your Week: What the Stars Predict
Starsky + Cox
August 28, 2011
Neptune retrograde on Friday begins a period of transparency.Horoscopes: May 29-June 4, 2011
Starsky + Cox
May 28, 2011
The ideal is as impracticable as it is puerile and retrograde.Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3)
Such a return to the nakedness of the brute must be retrograde.Diderot and the Encyclopdists
This is the kernel of all that is most retrograde in Mr. Carlyle's teaching.Critical Miscellanies, Vol. I
But she had an idea that the world would go on rather than retrograde.A Little Girl in Old Boston
Amanda Millie Douglas
Its retrograde movement was slow, but steady and irresistible.Freaks on the Fells
- moving or bending backwards
- (esp of order) reverse or inverse
- tending towards an earlier worse condition; declining or deteriorating
- occurring or orbiting in a direction opposite to that of the earth's motion around the sunCompare direct (def. 18)
- occurring or orbiting in a direction around a planet opposite to the planet's rotational directionthe retrograde motion of the satellite Phoebe around Saturn
- appearing to move in a clockwise direction due to the rotational period exceeding the period of revolution around the sunVenus has retrograde rotation
- biology tending to retrogress; degenerate
- music of, concerning, or denoting a melody or part that is played backwards
- obsolete opposed, contrary, or repugnant to
- to move in a retrograde direction; retrogress
- US military another word for retreat (def. 1)
C14: from Latin retrōgradī to go backwards, from gradi to walk, go
Word Origin and History for retrograde
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Moving or tending backward.
- Opposite to the usual order; inverted or reversed.
- Reverting to an earlier or inferior condition.
- To move or seem to move backward; recede.
- To decline to an inferior state; degenerate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Having a rotational or orbital movement that is opposite to the movement of most bodies within a celestial system. In the solar system, retrograde bodies are those that rotate or orbit in a clockwise direction (east to west) when viewed from a vantage point above the Earth's north pole. Venus, Uranus, and Pluto have retrograde rotational movements. No planets in the solar system have retrograde orbital movements, but four of Jupiter's moons exhibit such movement.
- Having a brief, regularly occurring, apparently backward movement in the sky as viewed from Earth against the background of fixed stars. Retrograde movement of the planets is caused by the differing orbital velocities of Earth and the body observed. For example, the outer planets normally appear to drift gradually eastward in the sky in relation to the fixed stars; that is, they appear night after night to fall a little farther behind the neighboring stars in their westward passage across the sky. However, at certain times a particular planet appears briefly to speed up and move westward a bit more quickly than the neighboring stars. This happens as Earth, in its faster inner orbit, overtakes and passes the planet in its slower outer orbit; the appearance of moving counter to its usual eastward drift is thus simply the result of perspective as seen from Earth. Compare prograde.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.