English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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The adjective is derived from Middle English retrograd, retrograde (of a planet: appearing to move in a direction opposite to the order of the zodiac signs, retrograde; unfortunate),[1] from Middle French retrograde and Old French retrograde (of a celestial object: appearing to move backwards; moving backwards; reverse; palindromic; opposed to change) (modern French rétrograde), and from their etymon Latin retrōgradus (of a celestial object: appearing to move backwards) (compare Late Latin retrōgradus (reverse; palindromic)), from retrō (back, backwards; behind; before, formerly) + gradus (pace, step).[2] Retrō is derived from re- (prefix meaning ‘back, backwards’) + *-trō (probably from intrō (to enter, go into)); gradus is ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʰredʰ- (to go; to walk).

The adverb and noun are derived from the adjective.

Adjective

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retrograde (comparative more retrograde, superlative most retrograde)

  1. Directed or moving backwards in relation to the normal or previous direction of travel; retreating.
  2. Reverting to an inferior or less developed state; declining, regressing.
    1. (zoology) Of an animal: appearing to regress to a less developed form during its lifetime.
  3. Of the order of something: inverse, reverse.
    1. (music) Having a passage of music played backwards.
  4. Of ideas or a person: opposing social reform, favouring the maintenance of the status quo; conservative.
    Synonyms: reactionary, traditionalist
    Antonyms: liberal, progressist, reformist
    retrograde ideas, morals, etc.
    • 1976 September, Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift, New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, →ISBN, page 74:
      Such retrograde people still exist, resisting modernity, dragging their feet.
    • 1991 December 1, Rudy Grillo, “Who's The Top?”, in Gay Community News, volume 19, number 20, page 8:
      [] in the form of the pussyfooted Alexis Smith. While referring to [Cole] Porter's 1946 film (alleged) biography, Night and Day, she mentions there were "certain aspects of the story which at that time they could not do." Was "certain aspects" a euphemism for gay? Smith's misplaced politeness here is truly retrograde.
  5. (archaic)
    1. Involving a return to or a retracing of a previous course of travel.
    2. Counterproductive to a desired outcome; contradictory, contrary.
  6. (astronomy)
    1. Of a celestial body orbiting another: in the opposite direction to the orbited body's spin.
      Antonyms: direct, prograde
    2. (also astrology, often postpositive) Of a celestial body: seeming to move across the sky in the opposite direction from its ordinary movement.
      Mercury retrograde
      • 2018 March 22, Wilder Davies, “Mercury Is Entering Retrograde Again. This Is Why So Many People Care”, in Time[1]:
        The inauspicious connotations of Mercury retrograde are actually quite old, evidenced in an ancient branch of astrology known as horary astrology.
  7. (geology) Of a metamorphic change: resulting from a decrease in pressure or temperature.
    Antonym: prograde
  8. (medicine) Of amnesia: relating to the period leading up to the episode which caused it.
  9. (poetry, archaic) Of verse: reading the same forwards or backwards; palindromic.
Antonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Adverb

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retrograde (comparative more retrograde, superlative most retrograde)

  1. In a reverse direction; backwards.
    Synonym: retrogradely
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Noun

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retrograde (plural retrogrades)

  1. A movement backwards or opposite to the intended or normal motion.
    1. (astrology) The apparent movement of a planet across the sky in the opposite direction from its ordinary movement.
  2. One who opposes social reform, favouring the maintenance of the status quo; a conservative.
    Synonyms: (both chiefly US, informal) mossback, mossyback, reactionary, traditionalist
  3. (archaic) One who reneges on an agreement, or switches loyalties; a rebel, a renegade.
  4. (music) The reversal of a melody so that what is played first in the original melody is played last, and what is played last in the original melody is played first.
Translations
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Etymology 2

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From Middle French retrograder (to (cause to) go back, return; to (cause to) move backwards; of a celestial object: to show retrograde motion; to date to an earlier period) (modern French rétrograder), and from its etymon Latin retrōgradī, the present active infinitive of retrōgradior (to go or step back or backwards; of a celestial object: to show retrograde motion) (compare Late Latin retrogradare, retrogradari, retrogredere), from retrō (back, backwards; behind; before, formerly) + gradior (to step, walk; to advance, go) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʰredʰ- (to go; to walk)).[3]

Verb

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retrograde (third-person singular simple present retrogrades, present participle retrograding, simple past and past participle retrograded)

  1. (transitive)
    1. (geography) To cause (a land feature such as a coastline or waterfall) to undergo retrogradation, that is, to travel in the direction of the land or upstream due to erosion.
    2. (geology) To change (minerals, rocks, etc.) metamorphically through a decrease in pressure or temperature.
    3. (obsolete) To cause (someone or something) to revert to an inferior or less developed state.
  2. (intransitive)
    1. To revert to an inferior or less developed state; to decline, to regress.
      • 1862 July – 1863 August, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], Romola. [], volume III, London: Smith, Elder and Co., [], published 1863, →OCLC, book III, page 260:
        [] Monna Brigida, who had retrograded to false hair in Romola's absence, but now drew it off again and declared she would not mind being gray, if her dear child would stay with her.
    2. (astrology, astronomy) Of a celestial body, especially a planet: to show retrogradation; to seem to move across the sky in the opposite direction from its ordinary movement.
    3. (geography) Of a land feature: to travel in the direction of the land or upstream due to erosion.
    4. (military) To retreat or withdraw from a position.
    5. (obsolete)
      1. To move backwards; to recede.
        • 1845, Joseph C. Neal, “The Moral of Goslyne Greene, who was Born to a Fortune”, in The Gift: A Christmas, New Year, and Birthday Present, Philadelphia, Pa.: Carey and Hart, →OCLC, page 68:
          A dabble in the stocks does not always turn out profitably; cotton is sometimes heavy on our hands, and real estate will sulkily retrograde, when, by the calculation, it ought to have advanced.
      2. Of the telling of an incident, etc.: to move to an earlier time.
Derived terms
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Translations
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References

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  1. ^ retrōgrād(e, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ retrograde, adj., n., and adv.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021; retrograde, adj. and n..”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ Compare retrograde, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2020; retrograde, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading

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Anagrams

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German

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Pronunciation

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Adjective

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retrograde

  1. inflection of retrograd:
    1. strong/mixed nominative/accusative feminine singular
    2. strong nominative/accusative plural
    3. weak nominative all-gender singular
    4. weak accusative feminine/neuter singular

Italian

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Adjective

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retrograde

  1. feminine plural of retrogrado

Spanish

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Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /retɾoˈɡɾade/ [re.t̪ɾoˈɣ̞ɾa.ð̞e]
  • Rhymes: -ade
  • Syllabification: re‧tro‧gra‧de

Verb

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retrograde

  1. inflection of retrogradar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative