[ 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.


Can You Ace This Quiz About “Compliment” vs. “Complement”?
Take this quiz to see if you really know the difference between “compliment” and “complement"!
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“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.

Idioms for retrospect

    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. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for retrospecting

  • By retrospecting to occurrences that happened during my journey of life.

    Life Gleanings|T. J. Macon
  • Louis and I have been retrospecting to-day, reading together the journal of the past two years.

    The Harvest of Years|Martha Lewis Beckwith Ewell

British Dictionary definitions for retrospecting

/ (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