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[re-troh] /ˈrɛ troʊ/
adjective, Informal.
retro pay.
of or designating the style of an earlier time:
retro clothes.
Origin of retro
by shortening


a prefix occurring in loanwords from Latin meaning “backward” (retrogress); on this model, used in the formation of compound words (retrorocket).
< Latin, representing retrō (adv.), backward, back, behind Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for retro
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I went home with a satisfied conscience, murmuring, Per la impacciata via, retro al suo duce.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • He turned the retro gun over slowly; it was just a gun; there were countless others like it.

    Forget Me Nearly Floyd L. Wallace
  • And while Luise hadn't concealed that she was a retro and so had given herself away, he wasn't going to make that mistake.

    Forget Me Nearly Floyd L. Wallace
  • The women of the Balkan – buried under provocative mask-like make up, retro hairstyles and too narrow dresses.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Scio me retro ad inspiciendam altitudinem mulieris frequentius organi mentionem fecisse quod Graecitas dioptran vocat.

British Dictionary definitions for retro


noun (pl) -ros
short for retrorocket
denoting something associated with or revived from the past: retro dressing, retro fashion


back or backwards: retroactive
located behind: retrolental
Word Origin
from Latin retrō behind, backwards
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
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Word Origin and History for retro

1974, from French rétro (1973), supposedly first used of a revival c.1968 of Eva Peron-inspired fashions and short for rétrograde (see retrograde). There is an isolated use in English from 1768, and the word apparently was used in 19c. French as a term in billiards. As a noun, short for retro-rocket (1948) from 1961.


word-forming element meaning "backwards; behind," from Latin retro (prep.) "backward, back, behind," also of time, "formerly, in past times," probably originally the ablative form of *reteros, based on re- "back" (see re-).

L. retro stands to re- as intro, "in, within"; to in, "in," and as citro, "hither," stands to cis, "on this side." [Klein]
Common in combinations in post-classical Latin (the classical equivalent was post-). Active in English as a word-forming element from mid-20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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retro in Medicine

retro- pref.

  1. Backward; back: retroposition.

  2. Situated behind: retroperitoneum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for retro



Nostalgic; historically resurrectional: I'm going to give them retro names like Madge or Verna or Ralph


A retrospective art exhibit, movie festival, etc: the Bleecker's current Godard retro

[1974+; fr retrospective]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for retro


French rétro (French clipping for rétrospectif, that is, retrospective)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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