in retrospect


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

1595–1605; probably retro- + (pro)spect Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
retrospect (ˈrɛtrəʊˌspɛkt)
1.  the act of surveying things past (often in the phrase in retrospect)
vb (often foll by to)
2.  to contemplate (anything past); look back on (something)
3.  to refer
[C17: from Latin retrōspicere to look back, from retro- + specere to look]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1600, from L. retrospectum, pp. of retrospicere "look back," from retro- "back" + specere "look at" (see scope (1)). Retrospective (adj.) is attested from 1660s; as a noun, it is recorded from 1964, short for retrospective exhibition (1919), etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in retrospect

Looking backward, reflecting on the past. For example, In retrospect, he regarded his move as the best thing he'd ever done. This idiom employs retrospect in the sense of "a view of the past." [Second half of 1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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