[ re-truh-spekt ]
/ ˈrɛ trəˌspɛkt /


contemplation of the past; a survey of past time, events, etc.

verb (used without object)

to look back in thought; refer back (often followed by to): to retrospect to a period in one's youth.

verb (used with object)

to look back upon; contemplate retrospectively.

Nearby words

  1. retrorse,
  2. retrorsely,
  3. retroserrate,
  4. retroserrulate,
  5. retrosexual,
  6. retrospection,
  7. retrospective,
  8. retrospective falsification,
  9. retrospectively,
  10. retrospondylolisthesis


    in retrospect, in looking back on past events; upon reflection: It was, in retrospect, the happiest day of her life.

Origin of retrospect

1595–1605; probably retro- + (pro)spect Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retrospect

British Dictionary definitions for retrospect


/ (ˈrɛtrəʊˌspɛkt) /


the act of surveying things past (often in the phrase in retrospect)

verb archaic

to contemplate (anything past); look back on (something)
(intr often foll by to) to refer

Word Origin for retrospect

C17: from Latin retrōspicere to look back, from retro- + specere to look

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 retrospect



c.1600, "a regard or reference" (to something), from Latin retrospectum, past participle of retrospicere "look back," from retro- "back" (see retro-) + specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "survey of past events" is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper