[ re-truh-greyd ]
/ ˈrɛ trəˌgreɪd /
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See synonyms for: retrograde / retrograded / retrogrades / retrograding on Thesaurus.com


verb (used without object), ret·ro·grad·ed, ret·ro·grad·ing.

verb (used with object), ret·ro·grad·ed, ret·ro·grad·ing.

Archaic. to turn back.

SYNONYMS FOR retrograde

1 withdrawing, receding.



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Origin of retrograde

1350–1400; Middle English (adj.) <Latin retrōgradus going back, derivative of retrōgradī, equivalent to retrō-retro- + gradī to step, go; see grade


ret·ro·grade·ly, adverbret·ro·grad·ing·ly, adverbun·ret·ro·grad·ed, adjectiveun·ret·ro·grad·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for retrograde

British Dictionary definitions for retrograde

/ (ˈrɛtrəʊˌɡreɪd) /


verb (intr)

to move in a retrograde direction; retrogress
US military another word for retreat (def. 1)

Derived forms of retrograde

retrogradation, nounretrogradely, adverb

Word Origin for retrograde

C14: from Latin retrōgradī to go backwards, from gradi to walk, go
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

Medical definitions for retrograde

[ rĕtrə-grād′ ]


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.

Scientific definitions for retrograde

[ rĕtrə-grād′ ]

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.
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