[re-truh-gres, re-truh-gres]

verb (used without object)

to go backward into an earlier and usually worse condition: to retrogress to infantilism.
to move backward.

Origin of retrogress

1810–20; < Latin retrōgressus past participle of retrōgradī to go back or backward, equivalent to retrō- retro- + gred-, combining form of gradī to step, go (see grade) + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > ss

Synonyms for retrogress Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for retrogress

worsen, revert, degenerate, retrograde

Examples from the Web for retrogress

Historical Examples of retrogress

  • But, as a matter of fact, there are species which are arrested; there are some that retrogress.

    Creative Evolution

    Henri Bergson

  • What had caused the man to retrogress Luis and Luise Obispo?

    Forget Me Nearly

    Floyd L. Wallace

  • We don't stand still or retrogress; we keep going on and up.

    The Drums Of Jeopardy

    Harold MacGrath

  • Would I could retrogress over the devious and enchanting itinerary.


    Christopher Morley

  • According to him the eyes of Proteus may develop to a certain point and then retrogress again.

British Dictionary definitions for retrogress


verb (intr)

to go back to an earlier, esp worse, condition; degenerate or deteriorate
to move backwards; recede
biology to develop characteristics or features of lower or simpler organisms; degenerate
Derived Formsretrogression, nounretrogressive, adjectiveretrogressively, adverb

Word Origin for retrogress

C19: from Latin retrōgressus having moved backwards, from retrōgradī; see retrograde
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 retrogress

"move backward; deteriorate," 1816, probably a back-formation from retrogression. Related: Retrogressed; retrogressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper